Most parents agree to allow teens seek medical care for sexual transmitted (STD) infections without their consent. But when it comes to getting shots against the human papillomavirus (HPV), parents still want to call the shots!
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually-transmitted (STD) virus that is spread through contact with infected genital skin, mucous membranes, or bodily fluids. It can be passed through sexual intercourse and oral sex.
HPV causes no symptoms in most people but some types can lead to cancers of the cervix, vagina, penis and anus.
The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National conducted a poll on children’s Healthy to identify positions of a nation sample of adults on allowing adolescents age 12-17 to receive the HPV vaccinations without parental consent.
Only 45 percent of those polled would support state laws allowing the HPV vaccination without parental consent.
"But in contrast, 57 percent say they support teens being able to get medical care for prevention of sexually transmitted infections and 55 percent for treatment, all without parental consent," says Sarah Clark, M.P.H., Associate Director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the University of Michigan and Associate Director of the National Poll on Children's Health.
The vaccine is recommended for males and females at the age of 11-17 years before beginning any sort of sexual activity.
This presents a challenge, says Clark, as parents think their 11 or 12 year-old child is not ready for sexual activity at that age. Hence many parents ask to put off the vaccination until their child is a little older.
“But older teens go to the doctor much less than younger adolescents, and often they go without a parent."
Public health care officials have considered pushing laws to waver the need for parental consent.
Reasons for not supporting dropping parent consent act may vary according to parents polled. Although 74 percent agreed that getting vaccines is healthy way to protect adolescents from diseases, most agreed (86 percent) that HPV shots should be a parent’s decision. 45 percent alluded to the side risks of the vaccine. And about 40 percent hold moral and ethical concerns about the vaccine.
Poll findings also indicated that parents and adults perceive HPV vaccine differently from STD vaccines.
"Policymakers and public health officials interested in changing parental consent rules should consider this data and provide education to ensure adults understand the importance of HPV vaccination as a form of prevention against sexually transmitted infections."
To learn more about HPV and sexual transmitted diseases, contact a gynecologist in your area.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.