Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Kids and STDs

I know it's scary to think about your child getting a sexually transmitted disease. If you're like me you think, "That won't happen to my kids. They won't be that stupid." However, it does happen to a lot of kids and they don't necessarily have "bad" parents. So, you might want to start planning "the talk" with your kids. Experts say it's a good idea to talk to your kids about oral sex by age ten. I am not sure if any of my friends even had their first kiss by 10 -years-old. Wow, that seems young!

Here's the latest information on kids and STDs:

A news study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows at least one in four teenage girls nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease. (That is insanely high!)

The study found the HPV virus that causes cervical cancer is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection in girls age 14 to 19. The highest overall prevalence is among black girls. Nearly half the blacks studied had at least one STD. Among both whites and Mexican-American teens, the rate was 20 percent.

The study included more than 800 girls who participated in a 2003-2004 government health survey.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Academy of Pediatrics on the HPV Vaccine

Will any of you give the HPV vaccine to your girls?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Shannon said...

No way will I get that vaccine for my daughter. Once she is older and it has been on the market longer, she can make the decision for herself.

I think I read somewhere that there are over 80 strains of HPV and several that can lead to cervical cancer... but Gardasil only helps prevent four? My numbers may be off, but I know it's a small percentage.

It also doesn't take much to find some alarming statistics on Gardasil... including deaths - so no way, no how. Even my MIL, who I consider a pretty conservative practicing Ob/Gyn, has expressed some serious concerns about it and supported my decision to avoid it for my daughter.

Knight in Dragonland said...

Gardasil is a safe and effective vaccine, and I will be vaccinating all my daughters with it. I have yet to see any adverse effects to this vaccine in my practice other than temporary pain and irritation at the injection site.

Yes, there are actually over 100 different strains of HPV. However, the four strains in the Gardasil vaccine account for about 70% of all cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. There is also evidence that there is enough similarity between some strains that the vaccine provides additional cross-protection without specifically targeting those strains.

Now, cervical cancer is easily preventable if you get routine Pap screening. However, even if women are vigilant about Pap screening, acquiring HPV is extremely common - 50% of women will become infected at some point in their lifetime. If you acquire HPV and get abnormal cells on a Pap smear ... at the very least you're looking at multiple pelvic exams over the next year, with the possibility of biopsies and painful treatments (LEEP, conization) that could impair future fertility or the ability to carry pregnancy to term.

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