Picture this: a world without sexually transmitted disease.
Now open your eyes, step back into reality.
The biggest issue facing the Human Papillomavirus shot is that women are being safe and men are not. Women are taking the precautions and receiving the shot and men who are the transmitters of the disease are not.
Approved by the Federal Drug Administration on June 8, 2006, Gardasil took the stage as the No. 1 vaccine that prevents cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers caused by HPV.
The vaccine is a series of three doses. Children receive the first round at 11 or 12, and the next two in the following months. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed that 60 percent of girls got the first dose, and only 39.7 percent of boys did. According to the CDC, nearly 80 million Americans are currently infected with some type of HPV and about 14 million people in the United States become newly infected each year.
The shot first was only recommended for women, according to Jane Froemel, the Pima County Health Department’s program manager.
Foremel has been an advocate for the shot and believes that it should just be added to the list on necessary shots everyone receives at 11-years-old.
“It should be treated like any other vaccine that an 11-year-old needs, they need…and realize the main message is that it prevents cancer.”
Froemel believes the issue stems from the shot only being presented as an option for women and not men.
So, why are men not getting the shot?
According to the CDC, the success of the vaccine is strong. During the clinical trials the HPV vaccine provided close to 100 percent protection against cervical pre-cancers and genital warts and since its recommendation in 2006, there has been a 64 percent reduction in vaccine-type HPV infections among teen girls in the United States.
Max Leach, University of Arizona senior finance major, received the shot at age 11 along with his three brothers. He said, his mother made him and his brothers get the shot.
“ We were all so young I don’t think any of us had any idea of how necessary these shots were to receive, I think being this age now and being able to understand why I got it makes me realize how big of a deal it is.”
Leach also touched on the fact that he did not really realize that males held such high stakes in the situation. Knowing that he is protected and that he cannot harm someone makes him feel like he did something right.
Haley Cohn is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org