HPV Shot - Tell Me What You Know

Updated on April 27, 2012
M.D. asks from Washington, DC
20 answers

I haven't done research on this shot, but when I took my 7 year old for his annual check-up yesterday I was told that all boys and girls get it now. I have vaccinated my children per the CDC guidlines since birth. but don't know much about this shot other than it prevents cervical cancer for girls.

That makes me want my daugther to get it because my mom had ovarian cancer when I was in hs (thank God she is FINE) and both of my sisters have HPV. I don't want my baby to go through what they have.

So what exaclty is it. Pros? Cons? For boys too?

I can certainly do my own research and will, but I'm wanting to hear from parents who have or have not gotten the shot for their kids (or if they are planning either way).


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So What Happened?

Woops - sorry. I didn't see the other question on it. Should have checked :).

I know my mom didn't get ovarian cancer from not having the shot, my point with that is just that that region of the body seems to have running issues in my family. I, by the grace of God, don't have any issues, and I'd like for my kids to not have to worry either :). But I'm not sure on this one. I see my OB next month and I'll get her take on it too.

Thanks ladies!

Featured Answers



answers from Seattle on

All I know is that I will not be getting it for either of my children. Too new, too rushed, too many side effects, can't really prevent cancer like they try to make you believe. Even the parents I know who do vaccinate on schedule are skipping this one.


8 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Just so you are aware. A condom does NOT protect from HPV! I had a strain of it while pregnant with my son and have not had it show back up again. There are a whole bunch of strains so the shot will not protect from all.

Personally, I am getting it for my daughter and if it is available for my son as well I will do that. My son is 10 and his doctor has not asked me yet if we wanted that.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 17 and we have participated with all vaccines per CDC until this one came along. NO WAY...She will not be getting this series of shots.

I had a negative view on it from the get go because it was so new, I felt it was not tested as needed, I heard horror stories of side effects. It does not prevent cancer... it has the potential to prevent certains strains (not all) of the HPV virus.

The ONE thing that solidified our decision.. my Ob/Gyn has 3 daughters and when I asked his opinion because he is so highly regarded and respected in the community and he saved my life... he said ... "None of my daughter's will get this vaccine"

Another point to consider.... if you get routine preventative care, you don't need this shot. Now, if you are the type to never go to the Dr., see how many sex partners you can have, etc... then it migh be a good idea.

it is one of those hot topics... only you can make the decision right for your family. Good luck.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am not anti-vaccine. I am not anti-prescription drug.

Years ago I would have said "okay" but the drug industry isn't like it was back when we were kids. Nowadays they have much more political and media power and they are much more into making money and they do NOT care about our health.

My cousin took the FDA approved drug Accutane for her acne. Because of it she got a brain tumor and crohn's disease. Both were DIRECTLY caused by the Accutane. While some of my friends took it successfully with no ill effects, she was one of the few that had a bad side effect. Now there are lots of lawsuits from other young teens who suffered similar effects from that drug.

My mother took Boniva for her osteoporosis. As few years later she developed colon cancer. Now, it is not known whether the Boniva directly caused her colon cancer, but cancer is one of the possible side effects!

I don't care whether the Autism/vaccine thing was disproven. I say, disproven by WHO, and whose payroll were they on? Because my good friend has a child with autism and he was FINE before his vaccination. And then, suddenly he wasn't fine.

These things are in my life and staring me in the face. There is a website http://truthaboutgardasil.org/ that talks about young girls who suffered horrible side effects of the gardasil shot and many have DIED.

No one knows why these girls suffered ill effects and others did not. I am NOT going to play Russian Roulette with my daughter. We'll take our chances with the disease.

I believe we have become a society of bad choices and quick fixes. We know there is no quick cure for a bad choice.

I know this isn't totally related, but my cat died from vaccine-induced cancer. The vet told me it was rare. Rare for everyone but me. I know she was a cat, but she was MY kitty. And she would still be alive today.

I believe all of this was a message from God to me. God is telling me to wake up. I plan on listening. No HPV vaccine for us.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ETA: This shot does NOT prevent ovarian cancer. It prevents a CERTAIN strain of HPV - not all. The only way HPV is contracted is by unprotected sex.


My pediatrician was NOT keen on it when Greg went in for his 12 year old check up. I refused it. And like you, I've vaccinated my kids according to CDC, etc. However, I refused this one.

Guardisil - NO FREAKING WAY - too many girls have died from it and a condom will prevent more than ANYTHING the shot will "protect" them from.

The strain that this vaccine kills - isn't common - but the only way you get this is via sex. So IF we teach our children abstinence (I know, I know, I was a teen once too!!) or even how to use a condom (which, even if you are preaching abstinence - I'd rather them be prepared and know how to use it if their hormones override their little gray cells)....they will be better protected then with some vaccine.


10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

What do I know? That we won't be doing that one . . .

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

absolutely not. the clinical trials were obscenely light, the dangers drastically under-reported and the potential benefits way overstated.
gardasil only protects against a few strains of HPV, leaving not only the thousands of other strains but minimizing the fact that HPV itself is not cancer. so you're vaccinating against a small chance that what you're vaccinating against will be the Bad Thing, and using a vaccine that has looming real dangers that has been injuring and killing.
not worth the risk in my book.
the profit potential for gardasil is enormous, especially when some states are trying to make it mandatory. whenever i see dollar signs that huge, i get cynical. let's see what the numbers say in 20 years, if indeed by then we can find any research that isn't tainted.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

This vaccine was put on the market through a "fast track" with the FDA. That means it did not get the 4 year clinical trials like ALL other vaccines, it was only tested for 13 months. Once it went on the market the manufacturer stopped the clinical trials. That is a red flag because no one really knows the long term effects of this vaccine.

Please do not compare HPV to Polio or Measles. HPV is a virus that causes warts. These are the same warts that can turn up ANYWHERE on your body. There are thousands of strains of HPV and the vaccine is made from 4 strains that have been linked to cervical cancers, that “may” cause cancer.

Please look through the CDC, NVIC.org, VAERS and any other websites you can to get information on this vaccine. I personally would never give this to my daughter. There have been many reports of extreme adverse reactions including permanent paralysis and death.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Our daughter will not be getting the shot, either, based on the same info that many moms listed below.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

Nope, my son (almost 16), myself, and his doctor agreed not to give him the HPV vaccination. While it is now recommended, he is not sexually active, and currently plans to wait until he is married. And, yes, we live in the real world and I understand that he may change his mind. But I will not force a vaccination on him that he has actually educated himself about and feels is not necessary in his life right now. And yes, my son understands that oral sex is sex and what it means to be truly abstinent. Until he decides to become sexual active, I have tabled the HPV vaccine.

Anyhoo, while the HPV vaccine protects against some STDs caused by the HPV virus, it does not protect against all strains of the virus. And yes, some of the strains are linked to cervical cancer in women, but it still a vaccine that only offers limited protection - the same protection that abstinence or condoms can offer. IMO

Just my opinion.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My daughter (11 1/2) has received 2 of the 3 out of the series of shots (they are done initial / 1 mo / 6 mo). She has had no side effects at all what so ever to this vaccine.

Ditto to what was said below from parents who agree with having their children vaccinated with this vaccine.

I also would like to point out [to the mom's who are talking about effective condom use and abstinence from intercourse as a way to combat HPV transmission].... that part of the issue with the rampant spread of HPV is the prevalent thought among tweens and teens today that "oral sex" doesn't count as sex, and therefore that is what they are doing. And doing it alot.

ORAL SEX will spread HPV.

They are now seeing college age boys and girls with cancer of the various oral parts (mouth, tongue etc) who have HPV who were not having SEX, but were engaging in oral sex and spreading HPV.
They also have seen that kids who ABSTAIN from INTERCOURSE, but engage in oral sex have 3x as many more partners and therefore spread the disease much faster.

You can teach abstinence or whatever you want to keep your kids from having sex. You can tell your son/daughter to wait until marriage...... only to have them sleep with their spouse who is still a virgin BUT who had oral sex ONCE and contracted this virus and never cleared it. Then.... your child is exposed to HPV.

This is not a vaccine that teaches the morals and decision making that come with educating my daughter about sex. I do that. This is a vaccine that will protect her from a virus that can cause several forms of cancer, that is hard to detect and can be easily transmitted from one person to another, and that she may be eventually exposed to EVEN IF SHE ABSTAINS FROM ALL FORMS OF SEXUAL CONTACT UNTIL HER WEDDING NIGHT. That is why I chose to vaccinate my daughter.

Good Luck with your decision. In the end.... it's the decision your children and their partners have to live with, not you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

This question was asked a couple of days ago, the answers might be helpful to you.


ETA: It's REALLY important to educate your daughter about routine exams. Pap smears prevent more cervical cancer then the HPV shot. (It's not a cervical cancer shot. It does not prevent cancer. It prevents HPV which CAN cause cancer. Plenty of women get cervical cancer without HPV. HPV doesn't CAUSE cervical cancer, it CAN. That's why, we must educate on exams. ) I will not get the HPV shot for my child, my answer on the other post sums up why.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son absolutely will be getting this vaccine. It protects against the primary strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer. Look at the CDC website - serious side effects are rare - much much more rare than cervical cancer. Look at the actual data (what data?) behind sites like truthaboutgardisil.org - they provide no references, no data, absolutely no substantiation of their claims.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

My son is 16 and has had 2 of the 3 in the series - he'll get the 3rd in July. He is not yet sexually active, and I told him that this shot doesn't protect him from the really bad stuff and they haven't come up with vaccines for those STD's yet! I wanted to reinforce with him the importance of a condom. I too did it more as a "gift" to his future sexual partners. Boys often carry HPV and don't know, and they spread it to their sexual partners.

I work for a large hospital system and I spoke to many drs. and pharmacists and they ALL said they would do it (or had already) for their children, male and female. I also greatly trust the advice of our ped, who he has been going to for 9 years. Make an informed decision, whatever that may be.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Yes, we will be getting it for all our children. HPV has an infection rate of 70% of the US population (meaning 70% already have a strain of HPV).

However, only 3 or 4 strains are currently known to cause cervical cancer - so most that have HPV rarely or never experience symptoms. But those 3 or 4 strains are enough that we want to protect our children. And we believe that morals are taught by parents, not deduced by children from a cancer prevention shot (but that's just us).

Cheryl O - With all due respect to your post, HPV is most often transmitted via sexual contact (not necessarily intercourse) - but it is ALSO transmitted non-sexually, commonly under the fingernails.






4 moms found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

I am curious about the HPV shot for boys also. My son is going to be 11 this Oct. We make sure to take him in for his yearly exam and I've never been informed or asked if I want my son to have this vaccine. I also have a history of cervical cancer in my family & I know that HPV can be carried by boys even though they aren't normally affected by it. I look forward to hearing more from parents who have given their son this vaccine!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

ETA: Condoms do not protect from HPV. People need to know this. HPV can get through condoms... Which is why HPV is so scary. Additionally, the deaths that have been seen with Gardasil are a small number compared to the full amount of people who have actually received the vaccine. The only reason the deaths appear significant is because they happened. In all cases, it was difficult to say for certain that the vaccine caused any problem at all. Additionally, with any vaccine, pill, food, or envirnmental factor, there is a potential for death. You have to weigh all sides. But don't be scared of the shadows, either. Get all the facts.

Get it for both boys and girls. Girls only know if they have it with a pap smear, unless boys have a specific strain which produces genital warts, they will never know they have it. Unfortunately, the strains most commonly associated with cervical cancer has no physical symptoms in men. The only way to test for it is a blood test.

It's amazing how many people now have HPV. Not all of them have cercival cancer, of course, but the virus is spreading a lot faster than it should be. Please knowthe vaccine does not cover all strains, just the major ones that can cause cancer. Not only do you not want your daughter to get cancer, you also should not want your son to be a carrier for the virus. It will not guarentee they won't get HPV but it will lessen the likelihood they contract the cancer-producing strains. I didn't receive it as a teenager and I wish I had. I've been lucky enough not to get HPV, despite my husband having the genital wart form.

Also, the genital warts aren't fun :P He had to put a cream on for 3-4 months and it burned badly... but the warts are gone! I never came down with warts and have no form of HPV. His HPV was topical rather than in the blood.

Best of luck.

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answers from Washington DC on

Boys get it cause they are the carriers and potentially spreading the HPV. Also I seen a report on the news where a man was diagnosed with Oral cancer and it turned out to be HPV. Get the shot , I did for my kid. She is fine.

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answers from Chicago on

I'm up in the air about it.

First, I don't have any daughters yet, so I haven't HAD to take a stand yet (it was just within the past few weeks that they started recommending it for boys too.)

Second, I don't know for certain what side effects there are. I have heard disturbing 3rd-hand accounts of strange things happening after getting the shot (paralysis, death, stroke), but nothing has proved that the shot CAUSED the problems.

Third, I do know that it only prevents SOME strains of HPV. Even if a woman contracts HPV, if she gets her regular paps and they find that she has HPV, they can freeze the cells and remove them without it ever developing into cervical cancer.

Fourth, we have so few tools for helping to prevent cancer, so if it IS a safe vaccine, I will give it to my kids.

By the time my daughters (if and when I have any) are old enough to be dating/married, it seems like most of the men in their dating pool, even the good ones, will have at least one STD. I'd love to protect her from whatever I can.

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