HPV is the “common cold” of sexually transmitted infections. It’s a health issue.

Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV) causes genital warts & cancers of the cervix & vulva in women. Lesser known is that HPV may cause penile, head, throat & neck cancers in men, an emerging health epidemic due to the rise in oral sex.

Adolescents engage in oral sex because they can’t get pregnant. But OCP use is down and condom use is up. And condoms are expensive for adolescents. So smart kids (which is pretty much all of them) seek a cheaper alternative. It’s all about the economics.

Not to mention, schoolchildren are now bombarded with information about the risks of sex, particularly HIV/AIDS. Oral sex can be safer than penetrative sex: The risk of contracting HIV is greatly reduced along with some other sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia which may make your daughter infertile.

But your adolescents are still at risk for herpes, warts, and thrush. And of course cancer. Not to worry too much. The good news for parents is that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of teenage virgins has risen by greater than 15 percent over the last 20 years.

Also, according to the CDC, there are 33,350 new cancer cases in men & women related to the Human Papilloma Virus in the US or 3,350 cases in Canada.

These cancers can be prevented so why are doctors reporting a high vaccine refusal rate in their patients?

According to a study, published in Pediatrics, it’s about pediatricians’ & family physicians’ delivery practices for the vaccine since the new 2-dose schedule came out for 11 or 12 years-olds.

Physicians do not convey the need for vaccination early in adolescence even and that equates to lower vaccine uptake rates by parents. Nor do they stress that this is also cancer prevention for boys.

Two doses of the HPV vaccine are recommended for all boys and girls at ages 11-12; the vaccine can be given as early as age 9. If you wait until they’re older, they may require three doses instead of two.

Early vaccination prompts a better immune response. Plus, the risk of exposure increases after age 13 & continues throughout life.

Social media is effective in terms of communicating health recommendations.

Doctors must communicate the importance of early vaccination to the parents of boys and girls. Since social media has been shown to be effective in terms of communicating health recommendations, let’s spread this information not the disease.

Maureen McGrath is a Registered Nurse who specializes in quality of life issues. She hosts the Sunday Night Health Show on the Corus Radio Network. She is a consultant to health care companies, sets up nursing services and develops policies and procedures for heath care organizations. She has speciality nursing expertise in sexual health, addictions, body image, diabetes, nutrition and relationships. Follow her on twitter at: Back2thebedroom

Maureen McGrath

Maureen McGrath

Host of the CKNW Sunday Night Health Show on Corus Radio. As a leading women's health expert and Registered Nurse, I understand the importance that sexual, vaginal, bladder and bowel health has on overall health and relationships.

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