First up in the news this week is a look at how primary care providers, doctors and nurse practitioners, are holding back adoption of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. According to a recent Harvard Medical School study, it is health care providers and not parents that are keeping teens from getting their HPV vaccination. Discomfort on the part of the healthcare professionals when it comes to frankly discussion a vaccine to prevent a sexually transmitted disease appears to be the primary reason.
HPV Vaccine and Cervical Cancer
We know that nearly all cervical cancers result from HPV infections. These infections also cause other locational cancers as well depending on the site of the HPV infection. The vaccine protects against the strains of the virus responsible for more than 90 percent of the infections.
Current CDC recommendations call for the three-dose series of vaccinations at age eleven or twelve in all boys and girls. This is because it is most effective when given before teens become sexually active. This appears to be the problem. The health care professional doesn’t want to bring up the subject of sexual activity with the parents of pre-adolescent children.
HPV Vaccine is Safe and Effective
Currently, only about 15% of boys and less than 40% of girls are getting vaccinated. The CDC urges doctors and nurse practitioners to make the move to initiate a discussion about the protection the HPV vaccine provides, and help parents to understand the importance of getting vaccinated. They should understand that research shows that arguments that the vaccine promotes promiscuity are unfounded and the vaccine is completely safe and 90% effective.
This should be a topic that all of us should be comfortable discussing with the parents with whom we come in contact so we can be active proponents for this vaccine. I’ll have some additional resources and the link to this article as well. Head over to NursingShow.com for those links in the show notes.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Nurse Tips for Patients of Breast Reconstruction and Episode 368.