Why the HPV Vaccine Should Be Mandatory


Sexually transmitted diseases are, quite honestly, one of the scariest diagnoses a doctor could give a patient. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections for adults and young adults alike. Infections can range from completely treatable to life-threatening. HPV is the current leading cause of cervical cancer and genital warts. The number of patients with human papillomavirus is currently rising in the U.S. The topic of vaccinating young adults for HPV is a controversial one among parents. As of now, most public schools do not require the HPV vaccine for teenagers. With the recent increase in HPV diagnose, public schools must start requiring children to eventually be vaccinated with the HPV vaccine.  

Most cases of HPV are completely treatable. But in some cases, HPV can lead to cervical cancer or genital warts. There is no prevalent cure for this virus, and, again, most cases have the potential to go away with time. However, HPV is primarily known for being a cause for cervical cancer. According to a World Health Organization article (who.int) entitled, “Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cervical Cancer,” there are two common strains of the virus: strains 16 and 18, which are estimated to be responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases, noting to 500,000 new cases and 270,000 deaths worldwide each year. There is a way to prevent certain HPV strains with a vaccine: the HPV vaccine. 

The HPV vaccine was FDA approved in 2006, over a decade ago, to decrease the rising number of cervical cancer cases in the U.S. Since 2006, the number of HPV cases across the globe has, in fact, decreased. Not only cervical cancer cases, but cases of genital warts, herpes, yeast infections, and countless others have decreased as well. Dr. Christine Duran, a pediatrician for Northwell Health, says “The vaccine has shown fantastic results. We are seeing less and less cases of teenagers with infections. Almost every patient has had little or no side effects from the vaccination.” The vaccine has proven itself effective against the virus and will continue to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases. 

The real problem is the stigma around optional vaccinations in America, especially one that prevents sexually transmitted diseases. The HPV vaccine is recommended to be administered when the patient is eleven or twelve. Thus, the patient would be fully protected years before she become sexually active. Many parents have come to believe that a young child does not need to be vaccinated so early for a sexually transmitted disease. In their minds, a parent cannot see their young son or daughter ever dealing with such a problem. To his/her surprise, the average age when a teenager in the U.S. becomes sexually active is sixteen. “Parents should realize that teenagers are at greater risk to contract these diseases than led to believe. I would rather be safe than sorry,” states sophomore Bella Sferrazza. 

To not vaccinate a child with the HPV is to be ignorant to the fact that teenagers can easily contract a sexually transmitted disease. Parents can no longer shut their eyes to the inevitable truth of the teenage years. On the other hand, the HPV vaccine has been proven to have some side effects such as headaches and nausea. The HPV vaccine has, however, been proven safe and effective by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and any side effects have proven to be not long-lasting and not harmful to an adolescent’s body. 

Today, many students agree that peers and themselves should be vaccinated for HPV. “I believe very strongly in vaccinations,” states sophomore Manaka Ogura. “I would hope that most parents vaccinate their children for HPV so that everyone will be protected, not just their child,” she adds. Vaccinations are not just about one specific patient but contribute to the health and wellbeing of the majority. If one patient is not vaccinated, it could expose others to the disease.