I know I have often seen movies or television shows in which usually somewhat older children, perhaps in their twenties, are somehow reminded of the fact that their parents are still sexually active. This typically results in a lot of repulsed and disgusted facial expressions and numerous verbal denials in even wanting to think about what that might be like.
The same is true when parents think about their children having sex and they seem to be in complete denial when it comes to their younger children of 11 or 12. As parents we simply do not want to conceive of what we still view as our “baby” being involved in any type of sexual activity.
Unfortunately the fact is that far too many “babies” are having babies of their own these days and not from Immaculate Conception either. The refusal to address this topic at younger ages and educate their kids not only regarding the risks of sexual behavior and pregnancy, but also to have them vaccinated medically to prevent sexually transmitted infections like HPV.
In this month’s copy of Vogue magazine, a mother spoke of how cautiously her doctor approached the question of whether or not she wanted her daughter vaccinated against HPV. I doubt this is a unique experience among doctors many of whom research has shown are confused themselves when it comes to the vaccine.
This is no time however for tip-toeing around an issue which can potentially prevent future generations from having to risk the development of one or more of the six known cancers caused by HPV.
Now that the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice) has finally changed the status for male vaccination from approved to recommended, doctors will be less hesitant when inquiring about vaccination as it is now an “equal opportunity vaccine” being recommended for both sexes.
While this is a good thing, and has shifted the responsibility solely off of women’s shoulders, until parents learn more about HPV via television community service ads by the CDC (responsible for the health of this nation’s citizens) and doctors stop being squeamish about discussing the issue, we will make little progress.
As I have said before, if this were a vaccine to prevent breast cancer or prostate cancer, people would be lining up at the door to their doctor’s offices for their shots. But, because we are apparently still a nation of prudes, it matters not that this vaccine can potentially prevent six different cancers all because it is sexually transmitted. Something is definitely wrong with that mode of thinking.
“Babies Having Babies: 90 New Mothers at One Memphis School”, Jamilah Lemieux, Web 19 Dec 2011.
“CDC Online Newsroom - Media Advisory: October 25, 2011." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011
"CDC - HPV-Associated Cancers Statistics." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2011.
Reviewed December 19, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith