If I could give my kids a vaccine for all the cancers out there I would. Our family has been impacted too many times from this hideous disease and 7 years ago when my son was twelve, we knew that getting him vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) was the right thing to do. He was old enough to understand from the discussions we had with our doctor that he was doing something important to protect not only himself but his future partners as well.
Our daughter was vaccinated in grade 8, 4 years ago. I overheard her telling a classmate as they were waiting in line “you need to take responsibility for your own body and health.” Out of the mouths of babes.
As a young woman, the news that you have ‘pre-cancerous cells’ on your cervix turns your blood cold. A sexually transmitted condition like this is enough to put you into a tailspin. You suffer through extremely humiliating and painful procedures to remove the dangerous cells and spend the rest of your life being tested and re-tested hoping you won’t develop further symptoms.
At the time of discovery, the doctor tells you HPV must have come from your boyfriend. Involved for almost 6 years at this point in what you believe is a monogamous relationship, fights ensue, there’s a breakdown of trust and eventually the dissolution of the relationship.
It’s a shame really when you consider how hard you tried to do all the right things as you planned for your life ahead.
Fast forward to the future when as a mother you find out a vaccine has been created to protect your children from the same debilitating experience and you are so grateful that one less virus will now put their lives at risk. So grateful that you run out and buy the vaccine before it is offered for free as part of the provincial immunization program.
HPV is a virus that is very common around the world with some types that can cause cancer of the cervix in women, and penile cancer in men. Diseases caused by the most common types of HPV can be prevented with the HPV vaccine.
Did you know that without immunization HPV infects approximately 3 out of 4 sexually active Canadians?
Experts recommend that children be vaccinated between the ages of 9 and 13 years of age when it is most effective.
Now all boys and girls in Grade 7 have free access to this vaccine – what a fantastic time and province to live in. Boys are now included in the province’s coverage to receive this preventative vaccine alongside girls in grade 7 bringing Ontario more in line with the other provinces and territories of Canada that offer publicly funded HPV immunization programs in earlier grades. (Previously it was offered to girls in grade 8).
Two little needles spaced apart by 6 months hurts a lot less than the treatments necessary to deal with the diseases or cancers caused by these viruses. Trust me.
Please check this link if you have any questions about this life saving vaccine: www.ontario.ca/hpv
“This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions of the author are their own.”