Delle finally got her HPV vaccine last Wednesday, after planning to do so for the longest time now. We didn’t even know of the existence of such a virus until we met some doctors to explain it to us for a discussion we had on the show. Most of the nearly 200 types of HPV cause no symptoms in humans, a few cause genital warts and cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus in women, and cancer of the anus and penis for men. But majority of cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. According to a study in the U.S., around 75-80% of Americans will have the virus at some point in their lives. But there is a vaccine that prevents HPV infection, making cervical cancer the only cancer that has a vaccine. Doctors say it’s most effective if administered before a woman is sexually active, sometimes as early as 9 years old. And the virus hits not only the promiscuous. Even women who have had only one lifetime partner have been known to get infected.. So finally, Delle and a friend got their shots in the station.
There was never really any urgency to get the shots, until a very close friend of ours was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The whole idea was just on the theoretical plane, until reality hit us like a ton of bricks. Everything we know about the disease was through numbers and statistics. We never thought it would come knocking at our very front door. To have a close friend fight for her life because of cervical cancer is a sobering reminder of how real the threat is. Of course I’m not a doctor, so I’m in no position to recommend any vaccine to anyone. Delle came to the decision on the advise of her OB-GYN, which brings me to what we always say: the best advise is for women out there to talk to their doctors about HPV and the options open to them to protect themselves, with OR without the vaccine. It’s a very real and imminent threat, so it’s worth researching and investigating further, for your health and those of your loved ones. Consult your physician for your peace of mind.