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totalhealth Consultant Gynaecologist, Adeola Olaitan reacts to the news that schools are not offering the HPV vaccine

Posted Jul 20 2012 6:45am

By Miss Adeola Olaitan, Consultant Gynaecologist at University College Hospital London


The decision of some schools in England to opt out of offering eligible girls the vaccinationThe means of producing immunity by stimulating the formation of antibodies. against the high risk human papillomaA non-cancerous growth that resembles a wart. virusesMicrobes that are only able to multiply within living cells. (HPVAn abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers.) is ill-advised and based on a false premise. The reasons cited for withholding the vaccination include "pupilsThe circular opening in the centre of the coloured part of the eye. follow strict Christian principles, marry within their own community and do not practice sex outside marriage" and "the school does not want parents/students to feel pressured by peers or the school setting".

Immunisation against high risk HPV significantly reduces the risk of developing cervicalRelating either to the cervix (the neck of the womb) or to the cervical vertebrae in the neck (cervical spine). cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. and its pre-malignantA lesion, condition or syndrome that if left untreated may develop into cancer. precursors. Infection with HPV is extremely common and it is estimated that up to 80% of women will be infected at some time. While exposure to HPV is less likely in a strictly monogamous relationship, there can be no harm in protecting girls against possible infectionInvasion by organisms that may be harmful, for example bacteria or parasites.. Preventing them from receiving the vaccination is akin to advising these young women not to attend for cervical screeningA way to identify people who may have a certain condition, among a group of people who may or may not seem to when they become eligible.

It is imperative that the people making such poor decisions are educated about the value of cervical cancer prevention and the consequences of non-compliance.

For further information on the HPV vaccine read " Vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus " by Miss Adeola Olaitan .

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