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Many Moms Unwilling to Have Younger Daughters Get HPV Vaccine
Date:5/4/2008

Study shows only 49% intended to do so if child was aged 9 to 12

SUNDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- New research shows that only half of American mothers intend to have their teenaged daughters vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) if the girls are under the age of 13, despite government guidelines that suggest the opposite.

HPV, which is sexually transmitted, is the primary cause of cervical cancer. The first vaccine against the virus, Gardasil, was approved in 2006. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that 11- and 12-year-old girls be targeted for this vaccine, as most girls of this age are not yet sexually active, have not yet been exposed to HPV, and will therefore achieve maximum protection.

However, this study suggests that many mothers aren't willing to follow those recommendations.

"Mothers had a lower intention to vaccinate [younger] daughters," said study author Dr. Jessica Kahn, an associate professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "This presents a challenge, and provides us with an opportunity to educate mothers about the importance of vaccinating girls under 13 years of age because the vaccine will have a greater health impact if given before 13."

Kahn will present the findings Sunday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Honolulu.

About 10,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, with about 4,000 women dying of the disease annually.

Three-quarters of U.S. women will be exposed to HPV at some point in their lifetime and, at any one time, one-quarter have been infected.

According to one estimate, giving the vaccine universally would eliminate about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Gardasil protects against most, but not all, types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

This study is the first national survey of its kind and
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