HPV series for male sexually active college freshman? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 06-21-2013, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My older son has been sexually active for several years. He has mostly used condoms, but I am also aware that he has not used them exclusively despite very frank and direct discussions, access to free condoms, and his assurances that he understood the many risks associated with unprotected sex.

He is going to university in the fall. I am struggling with whether I should encourage him to get the three-shot HPV series. His physician will almost certainly encourage him to get them.

I do not want him to experience the shame that some people feel when diagnosed with an STI, nor do I want him to face the possibility of dealing with a lifelong virus that could have an impact on his health and relationships in the future.

Like other vaccinations, I will feel rotten no matter what I do. While I know it's his body and his decision, I also certainly know his brain is not developed enough to truly understand the consequences that one encounter could have on his future.

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#2 of 23 Old 06-22-2013, 05:40 AM
 
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No, I'd never entertain giving them to my son (or daughter.) Gardasil only prevents 4 of the 150 strains of hpv, Cerverix only prevents 2 of the 150. HPV usually has no symptoms and goes away on its own like other viruses. The studies don't even prove that the vaccines prevent cancer. They use that language that implies that it does without saying it does, prevents potentially precancerous lesions or precursors to cancer. Meanwhile,the vaccine is most definitely causing alarming side effects.
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#3 of 23 Old 06-22-2013, 06:55 AM
 
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4evermom,

Could you post some sources for that information? I struggling with this decision regarding my daughter as well.

 

This is what I read recently:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500690_162-5253431.html
 


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#4 of 23 Old 06-22-2013, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Are there any reliable sites I should look at to get more information? Thanks for writing back.

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#5 of 23 Old 06-22-2013, 07:25 AM
 
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Unfortunately, reliable information on vaccines is hard to come by, in my experience.  You're either sorting through decidedly anti-vax websites or a bunch of crap sponsored or strongly influenced by drug companies, (yes, I lump the CDC in with the latter category).  Just read everything you can get your hands on  . . . but with an extremely critical eye.

 

Here are some initial thoughts: The chance that your son will endure lifelong suffering from HPV is next to nil, as most cases clear up on their own.  HPV strains leading to cervical cancer, (and the vaccine doesn't cover all of them), can be potentially fatal in women, but regular gynecologic exams are just as effective (perhaps much more so) at nipping cervical cancer in the bud. 

 

The push to vaccinate boys and men is mostly to curb the off-chance that they catch one of the four cancer-causing strains and spread it to women.  But . . . . . even promoters of this vaccine are quick to caution that it doesn't give anyone a free ride on the condom issue.  They're not communicating that message strongly enough, in my opinion, and I'm extremely concerned that this vaccine is going to give sexually active youth a false sense of security.  Without a condom, your son can still end up impregnating somebody or getting any other STI/STD, including every other strain of HPV and the icky genital warts that come with it.  He may also get and spread one of the cancer-causing strains, since it is a simple fact that no vaccine is 100% effective. 

 

From the sounds of it, if he's not consistent about using condoms, he has much bigger issues than whether or not to get this vaccine.

 

I'll end by juxtaposing two stories that I learned about on the same day.  The first is what my cynical side considers a marketing piece disguised as legitimate journalism.  The second . . . well, it's well worth reading.  Japan is no longer recommending this vaccine due to safety and side-effect concerns.  The U.S. says it's still A-OK.

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/19/hpv-vaccine-cancer-rates-down-56/2438137/

 

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/06/15/national/cervix-vaccine-issues-trigger-health-notice/#.Ubxtl5jcGGn

 

Good luck to him on his decision!


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#6 of 23 Old 06-22-2013, 07:41 AM
 
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Yes, there are so many articles and you have to read critically... But everyone agrees that the vaccine only is designed for a few of many many strains of hpv. HPV isn't usually serious in and of itself. The vaccine might not be effective long term. It only prevents "possibly precancerous lesions" which isn't at all the same as preventing cancer. It doesn't replace the need for pap smears. It's a vaccine that might lower the chance of something that might not be a big risk in the first place. But it definitely has some serious documented side effects.


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#7 of 23 Old 06-23-2013, 05:32 AM
 
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I did go and read a few more articles - like this one:

 

http://www.cwhn.ca/en/node/39434

 

It is definitely very hard to weigh the information and figure out the sources. BTW, I find it interesting that in my reading, none of the articles agree on how many strains of HPV there are. I have read anywhere from 40 to 100!
 

Will continue to read and research. Good luck with this decision, OP!


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#8 of 23 Old 06-24-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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Here are some initial thoughts: The chance that your son will endure lifelong suffering from HPV is next to nil, as most cases clear up on their own.  HPV strains leading to cervical cancer, (and the vaccine doesn't cover all of them), can be potentially fatal in women, but regular gynecologic exams are just as effective (perhaps much more so) at nipping cervical cancer in the bud.

 

 

Just throwing it out there.... Apparently it's suspected that HPV can cause throat cancer too (for anyone performing unprotected oral sex on an infected male). I don't know if that means you should get a vaccine. You might be able to use it to scare youngsters into using condoms more diligently.  Who'd want to get themselves in a situation where they can't get oral sex from their future wife without risking giving throat cancer??
 

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#9 of 23 Old 06-29-2013, 04:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

No, I'd never entertain giving them to my son (or daughter.) Gardasil only prevents 4 of the 150 strains of hpv, Cerverix only prevents 2 of the 150. HPV usually has no symptoms and goes away on its own like other viruses. The studies don't even prove that the vaccines prevent cancer. They use that language that implies that it does without saying it does, prevents potentially precancerous lesions or precursors to cancer. Meanwhile,the vaccine is most definitely causing alarming side effects.

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#10 of 23 Old 06-29-2013, 11:31 PM
 
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I get not entertaining giving it to them it because we tend to hold back on vaxs; however, having lost both my mil and fil and all 4 grandparents to cancer at youngish ages...as well as having several single parent's in our community who lost their partner to cancer in their 30's, I thought my sexually inexperienced ds (13) was owed all the information that could impact his future. I showed him info on STDs and we had a very LONG conversation with my pediatrician and my son said he wanted it...he had very sweet/honest reasons for his decision.  Will this protect him and his spouse from every kind of cancer? No, but it is my idealistic young man's choice.

 

I would not hesitate to approach this subject with a sexually active young adult who is attending university. Honestly, I think it is a vital pre university conversation.

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#11 of 23 Old 06-30-2013, 10:50 AM
 
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It helps provide protection for the strains of hpv that cause 70% of the cancer cases.

While it is true that it only protects against a few of the many strains, that isn't the *whole* truth. It protects against the most common strains that cause the most deaths.

The link above was interesting - it said that the vaccine could save about 400 women a year in Canada , but that is too small of a number to justify the expense.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#12 of 23 Old 06-30-2013, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

 

From the sounds of it, if he's not consistent about using condoms, he has much bigger issues than whether or not to get this vaccine.

 

 

 

  Yeah, this.


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#13 of 23 Old 06-30-2013, 11:33 AM
 
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The vaccines are supposedly only good for 5 years. And I read (on WebMD, I think) that they aren't recommended for women over 26. Not sure how a few years protection from a virus is going to prevent cancer. Woman's Health Mag points out it would have to be 100% effective for 15 years to prevent a slow growing cancer like cervical cancer. The vaccine claim is that it "may" prevent "precancerous" lesions. They don't even claim it prevents cancer because they can't. They can only say it might reduce your risk which is not at all the same thing. Especially when you factor in the definite risk of side effects from the vaccine.
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#14 of 23 Old 06-30-2013, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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  Yeah, this.

How many of us out there have used condoms 100 percent of the time? Yes, there are many other issues and dangers present, but this is one STI that can at least be partially prevented.

And, for those of you with younger kids who are thinking "Oh, my child will never do XYZ because I will be so open with my child and be able to lead them down a healthy path," I wish you luck.

If you have had unprotected sex, is there any lecture/supportive talk/close relationship with a trusted adult that could have directed YOU towards always having safer sex?

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#15 of 23 Old 06-30-2013, 11:59 AM
 
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1) Condoms do nor prevent HPV

 

2) It is not a life long virus. The body fight it off in 2-3 years

 

3) During these years patients are often asymptomatic and infect others.

 

4) Some of the HPV strains are implicated in cervical, anal and throat cancers.

 

5) If everyone is vaccinated,  the cancer causing strain would not have spread vector and overall cases would decrease.

 

6) You son is  almost an adult. Let him decide and take responsibility for his own sexual health.

 

7)  I would simply give him a good book on STDs. The fact that he does not use condom all the time is quiet worrisome. There many scary things out there, including antibiotic resistant gonorrhea  that can cause more immediate harm than HPV.

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#16 of 23 Old 06-30-2013, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I gave my son has an excellent book about sexuality, we have had very open discussions about intimacy (starting when he was around 12), and I have provided him with condoms, no questions asked.

Proper condom use absolutely decreases the risk of STIs. I use the term "safer sex," not "safe sex."

It is certainly his body and his decision. My initial question was only soliciting opinions about whether I should encourage him to get the series, not whether I was in a great mood about his choices.

Once you have a virus, it can stay dormant, but it does not leave you.

Thanks to those of you who have PM'd me about your experiences with HPV and how it has changed your lives, sexual habits, and self-esteem.

Many people who have HPV are asymptomatic, particularly males.

Of course I am aware that HPV is, on balance, among the more benign of the STIs. As I said, it is one that can be partially prevented.

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#17 of 23 Old 06-30-2013, 03:09 PM
 
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HSV stays dormant in the body. HPV does not.
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#18 of 23 Old 07-05-2013, 11:20 AM
 
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I thought the shots were only recomended for teens who had not yet been sexually active? Once someone has been exposed to HPV, the shot doesn't do any good.

None of my kids will be getting the shot- I know too many horror stories from people first hand.

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#19 of 23 Old 07-05-2013, 02:24 PM
 
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I thought the shots were only recomended for teens who had not yet been sexually active? Once someone has been exposed to HPV, the shot doesn't do any good.
None of my kids will be getting the shot- I know too many horror stories from people first hand.
Nope, they are recommended regardless of prior sexual activity. There are many strains of HPV and they may not have been exposed to the strains the vaccine covers, which are also the strains likely to cause cancer.

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#20 of 23 Old 07-09-2013, 01:07 PM
 
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This is from the HPV FAQ website promoting safety of the vaccine:

 

For the HPV vaccine to work best, it is very important for preteens to get all 3 doses (shots) long before any sexual activity with another person begins. 

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#21 of 23 Old 07-09-2013, 01:24 PM
 
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For it to work BEST. That is not to say it's useless after sexual debut.

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#22 of 23 Old 07-09-2013, 01:58 PM
 
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The reason they want it to be given before secual activity is because if you have been exposed to HPV, which can happen at the first encounter, the shot is totally useless. When this vaccine was first introduced, I remember reading that it can be dangerous if given to a person who already has HPV; I cannot find that now, but I distinctly remember reading that as being the reason to give it to younger children. They will not give it to someone over 26 because of the assumption that by 26 a person has been sexually active.

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#23 of 23 Old 07-09-2013, 06:41 PM
 
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mar123, there are multiple strains of HPV. Being exposed to one doesn't mean you've been exposed to them all. If you are very young and have had one or two sex partners only, the odds are better that you havent been exposed to multiple strains.

If you've been exposed to the strains the vaccine covers, it's useless. I never heard anything about it being dangerous. ?

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