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Yavapai County Healthy Concerns
By David McAtee, Prescott, AZ
Upcoming events and health concerns for Yavapai County.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sex, Petting and the HPV Shot

 David McAtee - YCCHS PIO

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is the world's first vaccine to aid in the prevention of cervical cancer. So why isn't everyone getting the three shot series? The two arguments against getting the HPV shot that I have been hearing are; "My child isn't, and will not be, sexually active until he or she is married." or "I'm not sure the shots are safe." I don't think anyone really believes the third argument that, getting the HPV shot encourages children to be more sexually active, so I don't plan on dealing with that in this blog.

Okay, let's look at these concerns.

Consider this the best or maybe worst case scenario.

Your daughter has been celibate for her entire life. The wedding ceremony is over and the magical night they have both anxiously been waiting for has finally arrived. The newlywed couple is alone in a room for the first time since they met, and she finds him sitting on the bed crying. "What's the matter?" she says, not knowing what could possibly be bothering him. "I have to tell you something I have never told another person in my life", he says through his tears. Afraid for the worst, she comforts him and says, "You can tell me anything." Drying his tears he tells her "When I was 12, the next door neighbor abused me. I was babysitting her kids and when she got home, she took advantage of me. I never wanted to tell anyone but I love you and feel you have the right to know."

What this young couple doesn't know is that he has been carrying the HPV virus ever since. In many cases there are no symptoms for years. Now he may be spreading the disease to his new wife, and no one will know it, until it is too late.

As many as 1 in 4 girls is and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before age 18.

Over 90% of sexual offenders are someone the child knows and trusts - a parent or other relative, teacher, camp counselor, babysitter, or family friend

30 - 40% are abused by a family member.

One out of every seven victims of child sexual abuse is age five or younger.

Forty percent of the offenders who victimized children under age 6 were juveniles (under the age of 18).

Only one in ten children who are abused will ever tell anyone.

About 21,000 HPV-associated cancers occur each year among females and 12,000 among males.

If you think this is the only scenario that could possibly affect your daughter know this, HPV is not spread only through sexual intercourse, HPV can be transferred through heavy petting.

So are the shots safe? According to a pediatrician and vaccine researcher Dr. Amanda Dempsey "Safety concerns have always risen to the top of the pile, in terms of being one of the main reasons people don't get vaccinated, which is unfortunate because this is one of the most well-studied vaccines in terms of safety and is extremely safe," Dempsey, who wasn't involved in the new research, recently told Reuters Health.

The next time you visit your doctor ask him or her about the HPV vaccine and the benefits or concerns of the vaccine. If this blog hasn't settled some of your concerns, do your own research and then make a decision. Don't put this off until it is too late.

If you don't have a regular doctor, contact the Community Health Center of Yavapai at 583-1000 in the Prescott area or 639-8132 in the Verde Valley. You can also get more information at www.YavapaiHealth.

Related Links:
• Yavapai County Community Health Services

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, June 22, 2013
Article comment by: Let's Be Honest

Clinical trial data has not shown that these vaccines have prevented a single case of HPV, let alone a single incident of HPV-related cancer death.

Statistically speaking, cervical cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths. How many of those deaths are actually attributed to the treatments themselves? Also, if you look at the research from Merck, the vaccine may actually increase a person's chances of getting precancerous lesions by almost 45% if they had already been exposed to HPV strains 16 or 18.

Bet you don't tell people that, do you?

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