HPV vaccine reduces cancer-causing abnormalities - but still underutilized

In a recent study, Canadian researchers found that young women who received human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination were less likely to have abnormalities that can lead to cervical cancer. Over 16% of unvaccinated women showed signs of cervical abnormalities compared to 12% who had been fully vaccinated.

HPV has been recommended for adolescent girls since 2007 and boys since 2011. But teens are less likely to get HPV vaccine than any other immunization recommended for adolescents. Recent data on vaccination rates shows that only 40% of young girls have received the recommended three doses, compared to just 22% of young boys. To respond to low vaccination rates, some public health officials have suggested that HPV vaccination should be available to adolescents without parental consent.

In a 2012 NPCH Report, most US adults said they supported laws allowing teens to get medical care for STIs without parental consent, but less than half of US adults supported laws allowing teens to receive HPV vaccine without their parents’ consent. Three-quarters of adults agreed (74%) that getting vaccines is a good way to protect adolescents from disease. However, only 35% agreed that HPV vaccines are safe for adolescents.

Public support for state laws allowing adolescents age 12-17 to receive medical care without parental consent

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What do you think?
Would allowing HPV vaccination without parental consent be an effective way to prevent cancer-causing abnormalities in young women? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @csmottpoll.