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cervical cancer vaccine

will your daughter be getting vaccinated? i hear it is being proposed as a law in texas that girls must have the vaccine to enter school. i am up in the air at this time.

Mon. Feb 12, 12:38pm

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It's actually an HPV vaccine, some of the strains of which lead to the vast majority of incidences of cervical cancer as well as genital warts. As a young woman myself who was not previously exposed to the virus, I have gotten this vaccine. It is called Gardasil.


Monday, February 12, 2007, 1:28 PM

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did your insurance cover the costs?

Monday, February 12, 2007, 1:30 PM

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while i think the vaccine is a great idea, and i'm glad something like this is now available i don't think it should be "law" that girls get vaccinated. for one, it would an unfair law that requires females only to be vaccinated. also, i understand why measles, mumps, rubella etc vaccinations are required before going to school, as these childhood diseases become widespread in schools otherwise, but telling parents that you know best for their daughters? no-wrong!

a much better idea would be to have the school nurses come into classrooms at the same age and talk about cervical cancer, and HPV and that the only guranteed ways to avoid it are to abstain from sex or get the vaccine. parents should encourage their daughters to meet w/ a gyno earlier than 18 (even if they are not sexually active), not necessarily for a pelvic exam, but just to talk about their bodies, what they can do to protect themselves, and answer any questions they may have.

i don't think the government has any right in this. what if we find out 10 years from now that all the young girls vaccinated in texas right now develop a complication from the vaccine because of their young age? let gardasil be out on the market used by consenting women for a little longer before we test this out on children!

Monday, February 12, 2007, 1:31 PM

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I agree with the 1:31 poster. Cervical cancer and HPV are not things that can become widespread outside of specific contact (HPV), if at all. This isn't a place for the government, this is an individuals decision.

Monday, February 12, 2007, 1:39 PM

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i think both boys and girls ahould be vaccinated. boys can carry the disease and pass it on to girls who have not been vaccinated.

would you rather your daughter get HPV or a vaccine?

Monday, February 12, 2007, 1:46 PM

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i'd rather make choices about my daughter's health with my daughter and her doctor.

Monday, February 12, 2007, 2:01 PM

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has anyone talked to their doctor about this? i have an appointment, but have not yet gone in. i am very curious about what other doctors are saying.

Monday, February 12, 2007, 2:04 PM

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1:28 Poster

I paid for the vaccine myself, which was a stretch as a student, but it was about priorities. As I have no children myself, I can't really speak about that aspect of this thread. I came to my doctor asking for it having done research on my own. Tests were done to confirm that I did not already have the virus (blood work and Thin-prep) and the vaccine was administered.

I keep my ear to the ground about this and other things on the horizon regarding women's sexual and reproductive health as I think it's fundamantal to my well-being. I'm fairly appalled how ambivalent and flat-out uneduacated most young woman my age are about this (and I went to public school in the South. Trust me. Any education I've gotten regarding these issues, I've gotten for myself.) If you don't know about HPV, please google it. Statistically speaking, the majority of those who've written on this thread have at least one of its many strains. And please note that genital to genital contact can cause transmission, not just intercourse and in rare instances it can be passed onto a child during birth. Hand warts are also another strain, which obviously has no relation to sexual contact. I think they are likely pushing for the vaccine for prepubescent girls because statistically the time women are most likely infected is during early sexual contact. I presume they've picked an age where they can likely rule out any prior sexual contact. If they couldn't do this, the vaccine would be almost pointless.

Monday, February 12, 2007, 2:53 PM

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I think this vaccine is really great and I think all young girls should have it. I participated in a clinical trial on cervical cancer, and the RN told me that up to 70% of women have this virus. You can get this through skin-to-skin contact, so even if a young girl thinks she is playing it safe with safe sex or not having intercourse she can still be exposed. I also got training as an HIV educator, and it's amazing how little information about real sex practices gets through to people.

Monday, February 12, 2007, 3:00 PM

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The vaccine is recommended for girls and women up to age 26. As a recently-married 24-year-old, I've decided not to get the vaccine. My gyno told me that she recommended that I get it, as I'm almost too old, so if I get it, I should get it right away, even though there'll certainly be more testing done in the next few years. She told me, though, that if I plan to have children in the next two years, that I should not get the vaccine, as no studies have been done yet regarding any potential implications that the vaccine may have on a developing embryo/fetus. I don't plan to have kids in the next 2 years, but maybe 3 or 4. I asked my general doctor for her opinion as well, and she agreed with me that I should not get the vaccine, as I'm in a monogamous (married) relationship, and there are no studies done regarding pregnancy and the vaccine.

My sister (who's 20), her gyno told her not to get it yet, as she can get it up to age 26, and she should wait to hear about future studies. Her gyno told her to tell me to get the vaccine. But, she doesn't know me, so I'm not relying on her opinion.

My friend who's a 3rd year medical student and wants to be a gynocologist told me the following (and I know, take med students with a grain of salt, they are not doctors yet): Although most cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, most people who get HPV do not develop cervical cancer. Also, getting annual pap smears is a good way to increase the likelihood of catching cervical cancer in an early stage, where it's more treatable than many other cancers that we do not already screen for every year. She did tell me that most of us have been exposed to HPV; it's incredibly common, but most never develop symptoms at all.

My doctor also told me that often, people are exposed to HPV, and the virus just kind of sits around inside you for years, and never infects you. Or sometimes it'll infect you much later in life. So, for example, I could have gotten the virus from an old boyfriend, years ago, and today I do not have HPV, but the virus is kind of sitting there, waiting. I could then become infected with it several years from now, having only been exposed to it several years ago. I guess it can just sit in there and not do anything for awhile. So, just because you test negative for it, and are in a monogamous relationship, it doesn't mean that you will definitely never get HPV. So, don't use my decision against getting the vaccine for yourself, if you're in a similar situation as me. It's just a personal choice; I'd rather risk getting cervical cancer later in life, rather than risk potentially harming an unborn child. Neither are definite, but both probably have a non-zero chance of occurring.

Monday, February 12, 2007, 3:11 PM

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