Written by Marieva Xrisostomidou, 17 years old
Clouds of misinformation and doubt regarding the HPV vaccine are hovering above Greece, with only 30% of the population getting vaccinated while abroad, the same percentage is more than 70% – even boys are getting vaccinated!
Parents are either concerned for possible side effects – mainly because the vaccine is still considered “new” – while many others link the vaccine with the beginning of their daughter’s sexual life, believing that from the moment she gets vaccinated she has the “green light” to start having intercourse. All of the above is due to a lack of information on the matter. Besides, in vaccinated population, a reduction of morbidity has been proven and there is no sign of side effects.
Since cervical cancer is the most widespread cancer after breast cancer, if you haven’t already been vaccinated you should probably start thinking about it seriously. But even if you have, do talk to your friends you haven’t. According to scientific studies, we know that approximately 500.000 women will get sick for the first time every year. In Europe around 40 women everyday lose the battle with this particular type of cancer.
The vaccination is completed in two doses and its importance highlighted by the proved immediate protection it provides from carcinogenic types. According to the National Programming of Vaccinations, the best age for someone to get the vaccine is around 12-13 years of age since more than 20% begin their sexual activity at the age of 14-16. The goal is to complete the vaccination earlier than that but has nothing to do with when every girl will decide eventually to initiate her sexual relations. Even for the girls that are already sexually active the vaccine is not redundant – if one is not a carrier of the virus then the vaccine is just as effective. And in the case of a girl infected by one type of the virus, the vaccine will protect her from all the other types.
Cervical cancer is a very “sneaky” cancer as it doesn’t have apparent symptoms in the beginning. Therefore prevention is NECESSARY.
Isn’t it better to protect yourself than regret it 40 years later? Would you risk it?