What is HPV? – (HPV vaccine), Human Papilloma virus vaccine, seems to be headline news, with the “should you, shouldn’t you?” debate still at the forefront of parents minds. However, few people know what HPV is and how it can affect the body, and even less is known about the consequences of your decision to allow your child to have the injection or not.
What is HPV in a nutshell
The Human Papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. With over 150 different strains of HPV most of us will be infected at some point in our lives.
Not all strains carry symptoms and some may simply go away without any treatment but there are strains that can harbour more sinister side-effects and long term health issues.
High risk HPV causes servel types of cancer such as cervical, anal, mouth and cancer of the penis.
HPV is spread by sexual contact, most commonly vaginal or anal. It can also lay dormant for years so unknowing can be passed from person to person.
Common symptoms of some types of HPV are warts, especially genital warts. Genital warts appear around the vulva in woman and the penis and scrotum area for men. They may also appear around the anus and in the groin.
There is no cure for the HPV virus however there is the injection which is still considered harmful by some parents.
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question
The link between this viral infection and cancer was discovered in the 50’s by scientists who were searching for a link between the virus and deadly disease, however it wasn’t until 2006 that the HPV vaccine was licensed for use.
The 3 course of injections are currently only offered to girls aged 12 and 13, but there is much debate about the benefits to boys also.
Many a question has been raised as to whether this vaccination is safe to give to our children.
Most arguments boil down to the parents simply not believing their child will be having sex before the the age of 18, the relevancy of smear tests (not provided for under 25’s in the UK) and simple “safety” issues which are brought on by false media.
But can we really risk a healthy future for simple misperceptions?
Lets address some facts
- Your child does not need to be sexually active to have or need the vaccine. In fact The vaccine works best if it is given before you’re child is sexually active.
- There are few side effects to the vaccine which include, pain, redness and swelling at the point of injection, fever, feeling tired, muscle or joint pain.
- The vaccine has been proven to help prevent cervical abnormalities.
- The vaccine has been tested and is declared safe for use by the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety of the World Health Organisation.
- Further clinical trials involving more than 4,000 males aged 16–26 showed the vaccine was 90% effective in preventing genital warts and abnormalities associated with penile cancer. (more reason to offer it to boys)
- The Vaccination may be talked about and more debates will arise in the future whether it’s safe or not for the next generation. But as it stands, the ability to protect our children is far greater than the small worry that you may be putting your child at risk.
We wholeheartedly support the vaccination and we also support the long fight taking place to offer this to the next generation of boys here in the UK.