Weighing the Value of HPV Vaccine

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

Concerns have been raised over the controversial vaccine Gardasil. You may have seen the commercial for Gardasil or heard the slogan, 'I want to be one less.'

But what does that really mean? Dr. Bret Boes of Riley Hospital clears up some misconceptions about the vaccine.

"If it's leading people to the misconception that they are preventing sexually transmitted infections by using the vaccine then people are getting the wrong idea and that could be dangerous," Boes said.

Dr. Boes said that Gardasil will help prevent an STD called HPV, but that's not the vaccine's main purpose. It is designed to prevent cervical cancer.

"However people might misunderstand and think that it's protecting them against other sexually transmitted infections while it does not," said Boes. "It provides absolutely no protection for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, many of the serious STDs that we see every day."

A lot of controversy surrounds Gardasil, primarily because girls as young as nine years of age can take the vaccine.

"There's no medical danger to giving somebody that young a vaccine, just like we give young children the chicken pox vaccine or mumps or any of the other vaccines that we give," said Boes.

In addition, Dr. Boes says some people are concerned because of the association with young children and sex.

"There's a lot of controversy regarding that because people associate the vaccine and sexual activity and a lot of people are offended at the idea of people getting a vaccine at a young age," said Boes.

Gardasil may not fully protect everyone and does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it is important to continue regular cervical cancer screenings.

If you are interested in learning more about this vaccine, visit your doctor or your local health department.

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