Researchers recently found women vaccinated with a single dose of Cervarix, an HPV vaccine, as opposed to the current recommendation of three doses, had antibodies against HPV in their blood after four years. These findings suggest that the recommendation for three doses may not be necessary to ensure long-lasting antibodies, according to CNN.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is not uncommon for most people to get the virus at some point in their life, but because HPV usually doesn’t show any symptoms, it goes unnoticed. For many women, HPV will go away on its own, but for those in whom the virus remains, there is a chance that it could lead to cervical cancer.
“The infection, transmitted through genital contact, is the primary cause of cervical cancer, which affects about 10,300 women in the United States each year. It causes about 275,000 deaths annually worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in low-income countries,” according to the World Health Organization.
However HPV vaccines, like Gardasil, only cover the four strongest strains of HPV. There are many strains it does not cover. Individuals can get HPV other ways, such as having it transferred at birth, which begs the question of whether the vaccine is even necessary if you are not at high risk of getting HPV.
“I am embarrassed about how ignorant I am about this kind of stuff,” said Christina Riley, a psychology major at BYU. “Although I am saving myself for marriage, I don’t know who I am going to marry and what his past has been like. It is better to be safe than sorry. The potential costs for myself are so high. I feel I have a duty to protect my own body and the children that I have one day.”
Many women wonder whether they need to get the HPV vaccine depending on if their future husband have been abstinent before getting married, especially if they have ever had a bad reaction to vaccines.
“There should not be any universal requirement for vaccines because some people get really bad reactions to them and so it should never be mandatory for you to get them,” said Robert Haas, a practicing physician in Kansas City, Mo. “However, most BYU students would not be in the high-risk group for HPV because they usually have not been sexually active with many people. If you have ever had a problem with vaccinations in the past, then you should maybe consider not getting the vaccine. However, if you are fine getting vaccinations it might be a good idea to get the HPV vaccine as an extra precaution.”