On HPV, Cervical Cancer and Stigma: Dr. Santoro Gets Real about HPV Vaccine Use

Dr. Nanette Santoro laments in a Healthline article that American parents are still unnecessarily anxious about their children’s HPV vaccine use, proven to reduce cancers in men and women. HPV Vaccine Use | CU OB/GYN & Family Planning | CO | Logo for Healthline website

Since instituting a free HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine program in 2005, Australia has reduced HPV rates in women age 18-24 from 22 percent to1 percent in a 10-year period. But as Healthline recently reported, the United States has struggled to follow suit, largely due to stigma about female sexuality and misconceptions about the HPV vaccine.

Dr. Nanette Santoro provided insight into the conundrum, noting that failure to reduce HPV rates (and therefore cervical cancer rates) is due to slow acceptance of the HPV vaccine in the U.S. Why that’s the case is a result of alternative facts and false narratives that have reinforced a negative perception of the vaccination, specifically the belief that “the HPV vaccine is tantamount to giving them ‘permission’ to have sex.”

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