The HPV Vaccine Gardasil is perhaps one of the most controversial vaccines for young women. The vaccine prevents the contraction of the human papillomavirus that causes sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer. The vaccine has won the support of ardent supporters and incited opposition from critics. Why the division?
Well, for starters, the vaccine is recommended for girls as early as age 11. The problem? The only way to contract the virus is through sexual activity. This vaccine presupposes that girls that young need to be protected because of early sexual activity. Opponents feel there is too much pressure on young women to receive a vaccine that protects one from diseases only contracted while engaging in sexual activity.
Supporters of the HPV vaccine, however, point out that this vaccine protects one from contracting HPV from a sexual partner who has the disease. Even if a young woman is a virgin until marriage, she cannot protect against past decisions made by her husband without the vaccine. As well, in the tragedy of a rape case, this vaccine will prevent further health issues after a rape for a young woman.
Today, Feministing has been talking about. A young woman seeking American citizenship has been told she must have the HPV vaccine before receiving citizenship. As a devout Christian, she has taken a pledge not to engage in sexual activity before marriage and therefore refuses to receive the Gardasil shots. The result: She can’t become a citizen.
What do you think? Is the vaccine something women should be instructed to take as a preventative measure? Or does this encroach on liberty and personal choice? As well, is the active pressure from health providers, including the Center for Disease Control, encouraging young women to engage in sexual activity at an earlier age since they are now “protected”?
How do you see this controversial vaccine either positively or negatively affecting young women?