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Survey shows parents are increasingly reluctant to give daughters HPV vaccine

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There is an increased need for STD testing services for young people, especially since the rates of these infections and viruses continue to increase among this population, and many people seem to be reluctant to participate in activities that may protect against them. For example, a recent study conducted by researcher from the Mayo Clinic showed that a growing number of parents said they will not have get their daughters vaccinated to protect against the human papillomavirus, despite doctor's recommendations.

The researchers discovered that although a growing number of doctors have been calling for all young girls to receive the HPV vaccine, more than two out of five parents surveyed said they believe the shot is unnecessary, and they are concerned about side effects.

Parents remain unsure
Researchers examined vaccination data for teens between the ages of 13 to 17 as part of the 2008-10 National Immunization Survey of Teens. They looked at the percentage of teens who received the HPV vaccine, Tdap - which is a shot for for tetanus - diphtheria and acellular pertussis and finally the meningococcal conjugate vaccine. They found that while the rate of girls getting the HPV shot did rise between 2008 and 2010, more parents reported that they did not intend to have their daughters vaccinated for HPV than had in the past.

The researchers explained that five years ago, 40 percent of parents surveyed said they wouldn't vaccinate their girls against HPV. In 2009, that number was 41 percent, and 44 percent in 2012. Researcher Robert Jacobson, M.D., a pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic Children's Center, said that is the opposite of what should be happening.

"HPV causes essentially 100 percent of cervical cancer and 50 percent of all Americans get infected at least once with HPV. It's a silent infection. You cannot tell when you've been exposed or when you have it," Jacobson explained. "While most HPV infections clear, a percentage linger and start the process of cancerous changes. The HPV vaccine is an anti-cancer vaccine."

The parents who were surveyed cited concerns about whether the vaccine is inappropriate for the child's age, and if it has any adverse side effects.

According to AIDS Map, having HPV greatly increases a person's chance of contracting HIV. Anyone with HPV should regularly use STD testing services to ensure that they are not also carrying HIV. Also, people need to know that the HPV vaccine does not protect against all forms of this virus, so even if they have been vaccinated, they may still have it.

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