Health officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Sacramento area physicians agree that the vaccination rates for HPV, or human papillomavirus, are unacceptably low. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, and the HPV vaccine is ideally given to girls and boys between 11 and 13 years old. Last Sunday’s Conversation and editorial “How to save teenagers from misery and death” asked the question: Should HPV vaccinations be required of all school-age children in the U.S.?
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
HPV vaccine can save adults, too
Re “How to save teenagers from misery and death” (Editorials, Aug. 10): I applaud The Bee’s editorial board for its Aug. 10 editorial. However, I’d have named it “How to save teenagers and adults from misery and death.”
At the age of 64, a dime-sized growth was discovered at the base of my throat. Subsequent tests showed it to be stage 3 HPV oropharyngeal cancer. The cause: My body was unable to rid itself of the HPV virus I contracted decades ago, and it lay dormant until turning cancerous in my 60s.
After months of daily radiation and chemotherapy, it’s now in remission. The treatment was brutal, but I’m one of the lucky ones. Had it gone to stage 4, I’d not be writing this today.
I urge parents of all young adults to visit “HPV Oral Cancer Facts” at the Oral Cancer Foundation’s website.
Guy Petersen, Placerville
All preteens should be vaccinated
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HPV vaccination for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years. Yes, Sacramento County should have vaccination programs in every school. Parents who do not want their children to be vaccinated could sign a release saying: “I do not wish my child to receive the HPV vaccine. I wish my child to be at increased risk for getting or spreading cervical cancer.”
Thank you for trying to increase the rate of HPV vaccination. Will the schools keep records on how many students received the vaccination and how many did not? It would be nice if the city and the county had a goal of vaccinating all Sacramento County students ages 11 to 12.
Bruce Burdick, Carmichael