Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Little Girl's "Big Girl" Shot

The news has been all a-buzz as of late about the HPV (human papillomavirus)vaccine as politicians have weighed in on the value or appropriateness of the HPV virus for girls age 11 or older.  Sorting through the sound bites and politics to the researched scientific facts and making a parenting choice based on those facts is important for all our medical decisions. Medical decision making is even more fraught with emotion when talking about medical decisions for our children.

Human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to an abnormal Pap smear or cervical cancer later in life. The HPV vaccine is on the list of recommended childhood immunizations for girls age 11 or older and protects against two of the most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

As parents and guardians we have to make a decision about this "big girl" shot for our girls way before we imagine they will be sexually active. We know that making a decision about an immunization related to your daughter's sexuality takes more information, time, and thought than you can get in a sound bite from a news story. Here's an (objective) interactive tool that can help with that decision and help you talk with your doctor about your choices.

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