To work, the vaccines - which can be given to both females and males - ideally should be administered before people become sexually active.
Conservative groups including the Family Research Council have raised concerns that giving a sex-related vaccine to young people might encourage them to have early sex.
Joanne Swift, an ob-gyn for Virtua West Jersey Hospital Voorhees, said yesterday that she had some qualms about having her own daughters, ages 9 to 13, vaccinated. "As a mother of children in Catholic school they are very much lectured at home and at school about chastity and the benefits of that," she said.
"I guess I would probably sell it to them by saying if you could preserve your own chastity, you can't depend on the person with whom you've decided to spend the rest of your life." There's no guarantee a future spouse didn't contract HPV before marriage.
This type of thinking really irritates the hell out of me. Listen Ms. Swift, the majoirty of teenagers and young adults will eventually have pre-marital sex no matter what type of religious-based, abstinance-only sexual education you give them. It's far, far better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best than to just hope for the best and then stick your fingers in your ears and scream, "La, la, la, la -- I'm not listening!" at the top of your lungs because you are worried about a "mixed message." I swear, if they ever come up with a vaccine for AIDS, some religious conservatives will rally against giving it to children because it sends the wrong message.
The thought then occurs to me that children are already vaccinated against numerous diseases they cannot comprehend. Just vaccinate your nine-year-old and tell her that it's just part of the shots she needs to protect her as an adult. You don't even need to tell her that the disease is a sexually transmitted one.
I swear, I don't care what type of ass-backward program is in place for sex ed in my local public schools when Tank (and any potential future sibling to be named later) is old enough, but I guarantee you that I will not let him enter puberty without knowing everything he should. In fact, given what some public schools are now forced to teach, I may just refuse to let him learn about it in school. Even if I fail on my promise about teaching him, no information is better than completely wrong information.