Doctors try to clear up Gardisil-HPV concerns

Doctors try to clear up Gardisil-HPV concerns

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by Abbey Gibb

kgw.com

Posted on September 23, 2011 at 9:04 AM

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PORTLAND -- Controversy over the HPV vaccine, called Gardisil, has been brought to the forefront again in recent weeks.

HPV is a virus that left untreated can cause cervical cancer. Doctors believe HPV is a real concern.

Studies show well over 50 percent of women already have it, with some research showing that number is closer to 80 percent. HPV is sexually transmitted. About 7 percent of children had sex before age 13, with 25 percent by 15 years old.

While teen pregnancy rates have continued to go down since 1990, HPV rates continue to go up. The CDC estimated 6 million Americans will get the disease this year.

Politicians like presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann have raised the concern over the vaccine's safety.

The website truthaboutgardasil.org says thousands of girls are having adverse reactions to it, some even dying.

That has left parents like Portland mother of two Tara Carillo unsure if she would want her daughter Autumn to get the vaccine when she's older. "I think like everything with our kids, you have to do research.

"You have to be open to everything but I just don't know enough about it." Carillo said. Her friend Anna Hinkes got the vaccine nearly a decade ago, "My doctor recommended it and I was 21 and it was free. It had just come out so I got it and I'm fine."

Legacy Medical group urogynocologist, Doctor Audrey Curtis, said the fear over the vaccine is just that.

"We have a long history with all of our vaccines of knowing they are very very safe. Unfortunately some probably falsified research led to lots of confusion around what potential side affects there are."

Curtis recommends that girls and boys starting at age 11 get the three dose vaccine.

"Why go through the illness or the disease or complications if there's an ability to prevent it early in life?" she said.

What are those other complications? Doctors say although an annual pap smear will probably catch cervical cancer early -- to treat it -- a woman could then scar her cervix leading to preterm labor or late term miscarriages.

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