Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Answers
While in the UK the adopted age is a reasonable and understandable compromise, it
is clear why the recommended start age is 9 years. It is to ensure girls are protected
well before they become sexually active. HPV is largely sexually transmitted and
the whole process starts there. For some, that process inexorably leads to pre-cancer
(dysplasia) changes and then cancer. This is a very distressing disease which might
eliminate the woman’s fertility, lead to premature menopause and for some, tragically,
death. The issue of age has exercised many a mind and has been one of the main areas
of contention in this debate.
There is a school of thought that argues that giving this vaccine to such young girls is giving them a greenlight to be sexually active without worrying about consequences. Personally, this is a track of reasoning that I find absurd. This is similar to the mainly religious lobby which frowns upon the availability of condoms. Only it is worse. Unfortunately, this anti-vaccine lobby is quite powerful and voluble and sadly the most vulnerable members of our societies are the most susceptible to this self-righteous pious posturing. Encouragingly, in a recent study by Cancer Research UK, most (75%) mothers were in favour of having their daughters vaccinated and 80% of them felt 10-14 years will be the appropriate age.
Young girls grow into young women and most young women, sooner or later, become sexually active. The sexual activity involves another individual (usually) which means it removes the absolute control the individual might want to have about its consequences. This is regardless of whether the sexual activity is in a religiously acceptable context or not. It follows, therefore, that any reasonable individual will applaud the availability of this protection for our children and young women against one of these perennial scourges.