Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Myth #10- Vaccines prevent ALL STDs

Vaccines are wonderful. They save lives and prevent a tremendous amount of disease. A couple years ago, the first vaccine designed to prevent cancer was released on to the market- Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. This vaccine protects young women (and now young men) from four different strains of the human papilloma virus, which is the cause of cervical cancer. Specifically, two strains of HPV, types 16 and 18, cause 70% of cervical cancers. It turns out that these same strains cause other cancers as well, including penile, anal, and some head and neck cancers (which is one reason that males are now being vaccinated as well.)
Happily, the vaccine also protects people against the two types of HPV that cause 90% of genital warts.

Is it expensive? Yes, but if you ask anyone who has suffered through the experience of having genital warts (and having them treated), believe me, they'd tell you it's well worth it.
Is it safe? Yes, all the data shows that this is a safe vaccine, and given the population receiving the vaccine, it has been under tremendous scrutiny.
Does it protect you against ALL STDs? NO! While it would be terrific if a single vaccine made you bullet-proof, that is not the case. This vaccine only protects against genital warts and cervical cancer, and even that is not 100%.
BOTTOM LINE: HPV Vaccines protect against HPV ONLY, not gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, or any other sexually transmitted disease!

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