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OK - so I voluteer for a cancer organization called the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC). After finding out I had cervical cancer, I felt very alone, as I was only 26 and had no clue as to how or when I contracted HPV. I took to the Internet after my diagnosis and what I found terrified me. Everything lead to a diagnosis I wasn’t ready to accept.  

Fast forward more than 10 years, and I am now working with the NCCC in an effort to create awareness of HPV and help educate women and encourage them to get their annual Pap Test coupled with an HPV test. While this is still the best form of protection availble, there are also new ways to fight HPV. One being the HPV shot called Gardasil.  

Now, I know there is a lot of controversy about Gardasil and many parent’s are faced with the decision whether they should vaccinate or not. For me, having battled this disease for 10 years and will continue to do so until the day I die, I say vaccinate if it is right for you.  

I know there are numerous stories out there about deaths, paralysis and other problems, but having attended numerous conferences, seminars and other educational venues that are Big Pharma-nuetral, I feel torn between recommending the vaccine.  

While I can understand people who object, I have a problem with the reasoning behind their decision. The reasoning for vaccinating your sons and daughters, (yes sons, but I will come back to that), before they have sex is to do it before the onset of their first sexual experience. It is not a license to have sex, but a protection for them should they decide to do it or heaven forbid, have their virginity stolen from them by force.  

Also, HPV doesn’t require sexual intercourse. It can be contracted from heavy petting, oral sex or tonque kissing someone with open sores in their mouth from an active infection. So, you really are protecting your kids.  

Gardasil can also protect your kids from head, neck and throat cancers, as well as vaginal, penile and anal cancers. So if you aren’t willing to give it to them to protect against cervical cancer (which of course boys do not have a cervix), you can say it protects them from contracting certain forms of cancer if they happened to be exposed to a virus.  

Now, the vaccine isn’t widely marketed to boys/men, but several major Gardasil researchers and members of the CDC and major cancer centers across the country have recommened vaccinating boys and some have actually vaccinated their own sons for the reasons stated above. It also eliminates them from being someone who passes along the HPV. This is a MAJOR point, since many of us who have contracted HPV got it from an unfaithful partner.  

The efficacy rates for Gardasil are around 99.7 percent, so we know the shot works in the shorterm and it has been studies now for more than 7 years. Will kids need a booster in the long term, maybe. Hey, I got a booster for MMR and Polio because it was deemed that anyone who got childhood vaccines before 1974 needed boosters, so that is no big deal.  

Now, 80 percent of ALL sexually active men and women have or have had HPV at some point in their life. That is a big number. Now, from the onset of sexual relations in girls, approximately half contract HPV within four years of their sexual debute. That is also a large number.  

The one main drawback to the shot is the over-sensationalizing of the so called dying or paralyzed girls from the shot. There is absolutely no evidence that Gardasil causes Guillme Barre Syndrome, nor that is causes death or paralysis. While this as been widely reported, now doctor or even the CDC has been able to document it or even found a link between the shot and these conditions.  

So people are going to believe what they want about Gardasil, as I am sure my post will not change many minds, but I hope it gives a little insight into the reasoning behind why the shot is offering hope to former cervical cancer patients, because if we could all go back and get the shot, you better believe we would.  

No sister, mother, daughter, grandmother, aunt or partner should ever have to deal with what many of us with HPV have. If you do not get a hysterectomy, you are facing years of ongoing medical mutilation of your female genitalia due to repeat testing, surgery and bipsies and some women who do have their female parts removed progress to have vaginal displaysia and even worse, vulvular or vaginal cancer.  

Not to mention the psychological issues that come with HPV. The lack of trust, the worry and the shame that is associated with contracting HPV. Not to mention, the very real fact that before you are even ready to have kids that you might have to make a decision to remove your parts and thus, eliminate your chance of carrying your own child.  

So, with all this said. I hope you will consider vaccinating your daughters or encouraging other women to do the same. Because HPV does not know any race, religion, socio-economic status, gender or bounds. It can effect you or your family at any time and force you to confront decisions that no parents should ever have to make for their child.  

While HPV does not kill, the disease does lead to a cancer, which does.  

So you decide...angel or devil. For me, if it even protects half the women that get Gardasil from contracting cervical cancer, than that is a good thing. Because I would never wish in a million years the pain,suffering and mental anguish I have endured upon my worst enemy.  

So think about it. If you live in California and think you want to vaccinate your daughter, but need help with funds to afford it (it is after all called a recesion for a reason), please check out Children’s VFC Program at  www.vcf-ca.gov. You may qualify for reduced pricing or full funding to cover the cost of the shot (you essentially pay a copay price for it).

As my mantra goes - C-A-N-C-E-R  S-U-C-K-S!



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