HPV, or the Human Papiloma Virus, is epidemic in the United States. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 24.5% of females in the United States aged 14 to 19 years are HPV positive. Among women 20-24 years old, an astounding 44.8% were positive. Given sad statistics like this, it’s no surprise that many people pushed hard for the development of the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix.
But now that we have vaccines, a raging debate has grown up around them. Parents especially express concerns about vaccine safety, parental autonomy, and the financial interest of vaccine manufacturers. So many parents ask me the question, “Why expose your child to a vaccine when virus can be prevented by abstinence?”