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Should My Young Daughter Get the HPV Vaccination?

Q: Would you get the HPV vaccination for your daughter?

Yes. I think it's great, and every girl should be vaccinated.

Yes, despite some reservations.

No. I'd be worried about possible side effects.

No. I have moral objections to it.

No, but for reasons other than those stated above.

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As the parent of a teenage or preteen girl, you may well be aware of the controversy surrounding the relatively recent release of the vaccine Gardasil. Gardasil helps to protect girls against the strains of an STD known as the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes 70% of cervical cancer and 90% of genital warts. The CDC reports that over 80% of women will contract HPV by the age of 50. Therefore, it has recommended vaccination with Gardasil for all girls aged 11 or 12; Gardasil is also recommended as a catch-up vaccination for all girls between ages 13 and 26. Furthermore, many states are considering making Gardasil vaccination for girls mandatory for school attendance. Find out what you need to know about Gardasil in order to make the decision about whether to have your daughter vaccinated.

Since the 1980s, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have become an increasingly publicized health concern in America. With the advent of HIV and AIDS, sex has become a very risky business. STDs can cause many health problems — anything from itchiness, to genital warts, to cervical cancer, to death. In spite of the skyrocketing rates of STD infections, many people are still having premarital sex — and the majority of these people are teenagers. Adolescents are at greater risk of contracting STDs than adults, for a variety of reasons. Thankfully, science is continually making advances on this front: new methods of STD prevention, detection, and treatment are constantly being developed. One relatively new development in STD prevention is Gardasil.

In 2006 the FDA approved the release of Gardasil to the public. In tests, nearly 100% of participants vaccinated with Gardasil remained free of the types of HPV covered by the vaccine. This is an astounding statistic, and you may well be asking yourself, "Why then has there been so much debate about Gardasil?"

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