Pros and Cons to getting the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine

HPV vaccineA year ago I met with a friend for coffee and I noticed a bandage of courage on her arm— she had gotten the first in a series of three HPV vaccinations.

Immediately I cringed; I can’t stand shots. The rubber gloves, the sharp scent of alcohol, and that inevitable pinch of the needle! It’s just too much for me. But believe it or not, I made the decision to get the vaccines. Three times even! Why, do you ask? Here are a few reasons:

What is HPV (Human Papillomarivirus)?

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. Currently, 20 million American men and women are infected with HPV, with 6 million more expected to be infected this year.
  • There are more than 40 types of HPV, some of which can lead to breakouts of warts in the genital areas, as well as the mouth and throat in both men and women.
  • There are some HPV types that can cause cervical cancer, in addition to other cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, head, and neck.

Although there is no cure for Human Papillomavirus, vaccines are available to prevent the health problems caused by the virus. Two vaccines are on the market now, Gardasil and Cervarix. For women, both vaccines are recommended for females 11 up to 26, and in some cases can be given to girls as young as 9. For men, Gardasil is recommended between the ages of 9 and 26.

Pros to getting the HPV Vaccine:

  • It can protect women against the HPV strains that lead to cervical cancer
  • When vaccinated prior to any sexual activity, Gardasil is effective in guarding both men and women against most genital warts.

So I decided to throw my fear out the window and made the first appointment for the Gardasil vaccine. It is recommended that the series of three shots are administered within the six-month time frame to ensure the drug’s effectiveness. Like my friend, I wanted to be next in line to protect myself.

Although I decided to get the HPV vaccine, there are some cons to getting the shots.

Cons to getting the HPV Vaccine

  • Some women have experienced dizziness, fainting or even black out.
  • There is some controversy over the vaccine being given out too young.

In my case, the first shot wasn’t so bad; I left the office only slightly woozy. The second shot was not fun. I blacked out, but I could still hear what was going on around me. The final shot was a breeze.

Most insurance companies should cover the vaccines because it is preventative. For those without insurance and are interested in the vaccine, you can contact Planned Parenthood, a health care advocacy organization, to learn about other options. If you are under 19, you might qualify for the Vaccine for Children (VFC) program, where the vaccine is provided free of charge.

Teens, have any of you had a similar fainting experience? Have any of your friends gotten the HPV vaccine? Other than the shot itself, what makes you hesitant about getting the HPV vaccine?


About malloryblack

Hi Everyone! I am a Communications Intern for Salt Lake County Youth Services. Currently, I am finishing up my last few credits at Salt Lake Community College and am about to transfer to Utah Valley University to finish my degree in Public Relations this August. I'm planning to head into non-profit public relations for my career. I enjoy reading books about psychology and finance, getting to know new people, and volunteering within the community. I'm really enjoying my time with Youth Services, especially with my contributions to the Youth Booth Blog. I invite all comments :) So, talk with me! I'd love to hear your perspective and opinions!
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One Response to Pros and Cons to getting the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine

  1. Heather Fitzpatrick says:

    I had mine done today it really hurt x

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