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HPV Vaccine
updated: Oct 15, 2012, 10:34 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

There was a discussion this morning on a morning radio show about the HPV vaccine. I have a 15 y/o son and I am considering having him vaccinated. It's now available to girls and boys. Anyone out there in edhat land have any thoughts, concerns or experiences with the vaccine, and is it readily available?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 331470P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 10:39 AM

Personally I haven't had my kid get this because I don't feel there is enough long-term research. Who knows what they might say about this vaccine in 10 years. Also, most doctors I've talked to say that the majority of HPV strains is fought off by the body's natural immune system.


 COMMENT 331473P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 10:41 AM

I had my daughter vaccinated when she was in junior high. Here's a link to an article I read on Yahoo earlier today:



 COMMENT 331478 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 10:46 AM

I lean natural with most medical decisions for my kids, but I'm a big fan of vaccines. It seems to me that the risk of vaccines is less than the consequences of the disease. You do have to get 3 doses over 6 months for Gardasil, so it might be a bit much to keep track of.


 COMMENT 331486 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 10:53 AM

Clearly you know your son is or will soon be sexually active. That makes you smart. And here is the answer to your question. Your son can either get the vaccine, or he can run a huge risk of getting genital warts. Now, for some reason I am assuming that the OP is the boy's mother. My guess is that I am correct. So for this next part you are going to have to ask your son (because you are penis-less) how he would feel laying down in a doctors office having the dozens and dozens of warts burned off of his penis with either electricity or liquid nitrogen. His penis would ooze for days, and he would have to keep it wrapped. The scars would not go away for months. Forget sex for quite a while. And the best part is that the procedure does not guarantee that the warts wouldn't come back again.


 COMMENT 331493 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:06 AM

Is the concern that your son will have sex and give or be given HPV? What about the option of skipping the vacine and sitting down with your son and talking through what sex is and the high value that should be placed on it? Maybe discussing the option of him waiting to experience it with the person they want to spend the rest of their life with? The benefits of not having to worry about contracting an STD or experiencing emotional side effects is huge. I am a man that waited until I was married. Just a thought and I realize it's not for everyone. I just think it's a reasonably wise notion.


 COMMENT 331499 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:15 AM

331493 - There you are. I knew one of you existed in the county.

Now, shifting back to the REAL world....your son IS or WILL
A. Smoke pot.
B. Have sex with multiple girls.
C. Drink.

Unless of course he falls into the 0.0001% of the population that don't, like 331493.

If there is a vaccine, then go for it. And of course, a vaccine doesn't REPLACE parental advice. It's just a smart parent doing a smart thing for their kid.


 COMMENT 331502 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:17 AM


Your proposition that you may find noble, is wishful thinking.

As for vaccines, I think its really up to you as a parent. If your son/his future partner are going to be active, I'd say the biggest concern should be that he wears a rubber every. single. time.

I'd place a pretty good emphasis on that aspect.


 COMMENT 331503 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:19 AM

Get him the vaccine and talk to him. You can try to talk your kids into waiting until they are married all you want, but chances are they won't. And as much as I hate to say it because it's awful, waiting won't do jack if your spouse cheats on you and you still catch something. Just get him vaccinated.


 COMMENT 331505 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:28 AM

I suggest you go on youtube and watch a documentary called "the greater good'. This outlines the specific side effects which children have experienced from the HPV vaccine gardasil. Side effects range from children having seizures following the vaccine, all the way to doccumented deaths . The chance / risk of contracting HPV is so small, specially for boys who do not normally carry HPV. Do your kids a favor, get your information straight and dont vaccinate them.


 COMMENT 331507 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:32 AM

331505 - If by "so small" you mean 80% of all people, then I wholeheartedly agree with you.


 COMMENT 331509 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:32 AM

I'm with #502: this is an issue of birth control method risk factors as much as general risk factors of disease transmission. What % of teenaged girls use the pill (at all and/or) correctly? Even used correctly the pill can fail. So teenaged boys who want to be responsible really need to use condoms -- maybe even if the partner is on the pill. I think this solves a lot of problems. Redundant birth control systems, protection for both parties against STDs. Check, check. A vaccine can encourage irresponsible behavior via thinking that other STDs can't get you or aren't worse. The hallmark of teenagers is impulsivity, therefore, having a condom rule makes sense.


 COMMENT 331510 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:34 AM

Watch the Dr. Oz show that aired last week on HPV. It scared the heck out of me even though I've been tested and don't have it and am married! HPV can lead to multiple kinds of cancers, 80% of sexually active adults have it and the virus is transmitted by just skin to skin contact and condoms don't entirely protect for this. In fact, you can get it from just heavy petting. It's also nearly impossible to test for boys so he'll make future partners very happy if they know he's had his shot.


 COMMENT 331511 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:35 AM

Do a statistical analysis and compare the chances of your son getting the disease and the chance of him having SERIOUS adverse reactions to the shot. If you read the insert for the vaccine, you will find that your child has a FAR greater risk of serious side effects than contracting the sickness. In the case of the Rotavirus, there is a 1.8/100,000 chance of a kid getting it and dying in America, compared to a 2000/100,000 odds of serious side effects. If you were going to put your child on a flight to NY with those same odds of the two planes crashing, which flight would you put him on?


 COMMENT 331516 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:48 AM

I'm getting my teenaged daughters and sons vaccinated. I talk to them too. :)


 COMMENT 331519 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 11:52 AM

According to the Wikipedia citation for the HPV vaccine, studies have shown that:

"Condoms protect against HPV, but do not completely prevent transmission. College freshmen women who used condoms consistently had a 37.8% per patient-year incidence of genital HPV, compared to an incidence of 89.3% among those who did not."

From that angle, responsible boys should still be getting Gardasil.

I would consult the family physician and do some reading by Googling on "HPV vaccine".


 COMMENT 331523 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 12:06 PM

I'm glad you pointed out that condoms don't entirely safeguard HPV and that it's difficult to test boys for the disease, 510. It's true that we all carry a form of it, but the risks are great with cancer and passing it on to a partner. I'm not sure of the risks with the vaccine, though I did read a report that it doesn't increase sexual behavior in children who were studied between the ages 12-14. I feel open communication is best with teens and perhaps the two of you can agree on the best course of action.


 COMMENT 331525 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 12:10 PM

Expensive, dangerous and unnecessary.


 COMMENT 331541P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 12:31 PM

OP here. Boy, am I glad I posted this question, and thank you to all who have commented and provided information and links. I almost always prefer a holistic approach to health matters, but vaccines are a different animal IMO. I opted not to have our only child given the pertussis vaccine for the very reasons stated here, at the time there were lots of cases of adverse reactions and not until a horrible reaction happened to the child of close friends, did we decide to omit the pertussis. Our child did have all the other vaccines. Now, fast forward many years later and he was given the pertussis vaccine at a recent annual check up. I even got a tetanus booster recently that included the pertussis vaccine, after reading and hearing about the dramatic increase of the disease due to people not vaccinating. Yes, our doctor kinda guilted us into it.

So here we are discussing the HPV vaccine. I don't have a girl, but if I did, my decision to vaccinate would be no different for boy vs. girl. We take an open, honest & more importantly, realistic approach to discussing sex in our home. The percent of people in the population who are carriers (est. 80%) and, the fact that condoms alone don't always protect are big red flags for me.

It just feels like the responsible and right thing to do as a parent of an as yet, sexually inactive teen boy...but let's be real, it will happen one day. I always appreciate a lively and most often, informative discussion on edhat to help push me in one direction or another. Thank you to all.


 COMMENT 331543 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 12:33 PM

Get him the vaccine asap! My wife and I contracted it , don't know who the actuall person was, but after our only daughter, she ended up with cervix cancer . She ultimately had to have a hysterectomy at the age of 28. There is not a day that goes by , where my wife doesnt cry , because of our sexual choices we madeYears ago, prior to being together and now we suffer the consequences. Her body could not fight it off as most people bodys do. It's a small percentage but not worth the chance.


 COMMENT 331548 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 12:47 PM

A non smoking guy friend of ours is in a fight with throat cancer.

Your son does not have to be "having sex" to get hpv.


 COMMENT 331551 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 12:52 PM

@ #543 - I am so sorry to hear your story! I have a woman friend who was date-raped as a teenager and contracted HPV. It was a continual source of heartache and medical problems for her and it eventually limited her ability to bear children.

Her story, and the rampant incidence of genital warts in young adults made us offer the vaccine to our teenage son, although he is not yet sexually active. He listened, thought about it and chose the vaccine. Maybe later we will find out it was a mistake, but we made the most educated choice we could, for the greatest good.


 COMMENT 331565 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 01:13 PM

Am I really the only one in the county who waited until they got married to have sex with someone else who also waited? I know it's wishful thinking, but something I hope for my daughters. I hope they respect themselves and their future mate so they don't have to worry about an STD or a broken heart.... I know it's possible... i did it. This isn't a self righteous rant either. We can aim for vaccines to solve our heart problems, or we can actually instill self respect into our kids. ok, go ahead, put me on the chopping block....


 COMMENT 331566 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 01:15 PM

Or you can do both.


 COMMENT 331581P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 01:55 PM

I had cervical cancer 20 years ago. No relapses, and I was still able to have kids. But, I don't want that for my daughter or for any girl(s) my son may have a relationship with. I got the vaccine for my son this past year. He hasn't even talked about dating, but if there's a vaccine for cancer, I want him to have it. I will get the vaccine for my daughter when she is 13 also. I wish there were vaccines for more types of cancer. The worries about side-effects of vaccines are overblown. Other things happen, and sometimes they happen to happen at the same time as vaccinations.


 COMMENT 331586 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 02:02 PM

565 - yes, you are... at least among those who dont reside in religious isolation bubbles like Utah or Amish PA...

One can either deal with the realities of life today, or wish that they lived in the 19th century. If you choose the later you'll be sorely upset, that's inevitable...

The real issue is, is this the right thing for a male. Females? Yes, but the jury is still out on the male side of the equation.


 COMMENT 331588 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 02:04 PM


Your first sentence oozes self righteousness. I don't see how pre marital sex has anything to do with how someone respects or doesn't respect their partner. I've been with my girlfriend for over 3 years, and would not consider sex any different if we were married or just a couple.

The idea that waiting until marriage is the only way to show respect or "be safe" is your opinion.


 COMMENT 331590 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 02:16 PM

I'm a 22 year old female and got the vaccine right out of high school just before entering college (and the whole 'dorm' scenario). I opted for it because I wanted to be safe and cover all bases.

Just an FYI, the second one hurts like a b***h.


 COMMENT 331596 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 02:32 PM

565 - And do you also only kick the tires and look in the windows of a car before signing the purchase agreement?

Gotta test drive that baby to make sure it ain't a lemon!


 COMMENT 331598 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 02:35 PM

I just Googled "HPV vaccine problems" and found a lot of information that gives pause. I would do a lot more research first.


 COMMENT 331605 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 02:44 PM

331598 - Whoops...Argumentum ad Internetum


 COMMENT 331626P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 03:58 PM

Bravo OP! And posters! Amazing convo.

Had HPV for many years, had it typed, got my yearly paps, no problems. Used the topical immune response stimulant (Imiquimod, brand name Aldara) less than 10 years ago, worked so well I got a fever. I seem to have cleared it; I have per dr. But getting it typed, if you have it, to see if it's one of the forms of HPV associated with cancer is very important. Obviously, I'm pro-vaccine. I'm certain my mother would have chosen for me to get this when I was a teen. In hindsight, not so sure she would've insisted my brother do so... lol
And condoms are crucial, and also not foolproof. (I very rarely missed a pill as a teen or young person. I knew birth control was on my shoulders. Not that it should be, but it was. It was that important to me.)


 COMMENT 331628 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 04:01 PM

@622 there's the problem right there: when you only ask a "male" about sex, you're going to get rather one-sided information.


 COMMENT 331629P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 04:03 PM

wondering about 511's math...


 COMMENT 331631 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 04:08 PM

I thought the HPV vaccine only made you resistant to a few of the numerous types of HPV that are out there? That was what they talked about when the vaccine was being promoted. If that is true then it is critical to use condoms and foams and whatever else is out there. Getting ready for sex should take just as long or longer than the sex does.

Welcome to the 21st century!


 COMMENT 331633 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 04:11 PM

Hopefully when you do “test drive that baby to make sure it isn’t a lemon," she doesn’t discover that your stick shift is a baby carrot. That would also be a deal breaker.


 COMMENT 331635P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 04:11 PM

Not all forms of HPV cause or are associated with cancer, thus the vaccine is targeted.


 COMMENT 331645 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 04:27 PM

I had both my kids vaccinated, boy & a girl, no problems at all. I say do it, our pediatrician felt that the research was strong and it has been out for awhile now. My kids are 18 & 14, and have been done with their 3 doses for awhile.


 COMMENT 331718P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 07:37 PM

Some real information on the safety of the HPV vaccine:


 COMMENT 331773 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-16 06:44 AM

Why not HPV vaccine for older adults? What is the theory, that older people aren't sexually active, or that they already have the virus in their system anyway? I don't get it? Please enlighten.


 COMMENT 331806 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-16 07:38 AM

They don't give it to older adults because most of them have already been exposed and have the virus. (or enough of them don't that it doesn't make sense from an epidemiological standpoint)


 COMMENT 331828 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-16 08:23 AM

@470 "most of the doctors I've talked to said that the body fights off most of the virus..." Get a new doctor. (there are some cases but it's not the norm.)

Save a your son's future wife from HPV that he might have given her...by accident. Save your son from heartache.
I've "heard" that 75%+ or more of the people headed to Lower State on any given evening are HPV+ and apparently "everyone" knows about it.


 COMMENT 331872 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-16 09:49 AM

Ask your Doctor if he has or would give it to his own children. Look deeply into this, op.


 COMMENT 331874P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-16 09:51 AM

Just do it - it's health, not morals. HPV has terrible repercussions for the body, for the rest of the person's life, and probably it will develop more and different ways to transmit itself from person to person, during the life of your child, that may have nothing to do with sex. And then he'll need some type of booster shots, but at least he'll have had some protection, starting now.


 COMMENT 332229P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-16 11:01 PM

We have an Ob/Gyn in our area who is a world expert on HPV. He comes to speak to my Human Sexuality class and he highly recommends the HPV Vaccine. It doesn't just protect against a few strains of the virus. It protects against the most common strains. The sooner you get a child vaccinated, the better, because parents are not always informed when they start sexual activity. The parents who are most open in talking with their children about sex are, of course, more likely to be informed. Ignoring the risks do not make them go away. One student in my class had to go the funeral of a 26 year old woman who didn't get Pap smears and died of cervical cancer which is caused by HPV.


 COMMENT 332346 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-17 11:11 AM

It's important to realize that the HPV vaccine only protects against a small select set of HPV viruses that can lead to cell abnormalities that in some instances can cause cervical cancer, if the abnormalities are not identified and treated. So in reality, it's a misnomer to call it an anti-cancer vaccine. And it's massively misleading, if not a deliberate deception, to claim it "will" save lives.

Today, six years after licensure of Guardisil, we STILL have absolutely no proof, not a shred of actual evidence, indicating that Gardasil actually prevents cancer in the long-term and/or reduces cervical cancer mortality. What we have instead, is tens of thousands of adverse event reports and 122 deaths, as of mid-August.


 COMMENT 332382 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-17 12:05 PM

"In January 2012, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published the ATHENA HPV study18 announcing the results of a large cervical cancer screening trial, enrolling 47,208 women 21 years of age or older at 61 clinical sites throughout the United States. The authors reported that in a sub group of 12,852 young women, the HPV vaccine reduced HPV-16 infections only 0.6% in vaccinated women vs. unvaccinated women.

Most disturbing are the data that showed other high-risk HPV infections were diagnosed in vaccinated women 2.6% to 6.2% more frequently than unvaccinated women. In fact, the study reported that the increased rate of infections by carcinogenic HPV types in vaccinated women (other than those targeted by Gardasil®) is four to 10 times higher than the reduction in HPV 16/18 infections."


 COMMENT 657593 agree helpful negative off topic

2015-10-19 11:51 AM

I definitely had my daughter vaccinated. When she went for her 7th grade shots, she got her first one along with her meningitis and tdap booster. She's had all three and her only problem was a sore arm. If I had a son, he'd be vaccinated too! There's a new Gardasil now that protects against five more strains. If they offer a booster, she'll get that too.


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