The topic of the new HPV vaccine has been prominent in the news for some time. As a father, I have been watching the reports about the new medicine in order to make an informed decision for my daughter. As a youth minister, I have been watching the story unfold to see how it will affect teenagers attitudes toward sexuality. Two recent stories have really jumped out at me.
First, this story tells how an estimated 1 in 4 women between the ages of 14 to 59 is infected with the HPV virus. That is definitely a scary fact, although I haven’t researched the source of this statistic. If we are to believe this, then it should definitely wake us up to the fact of sexually transmitted diseases in our teens and young adults. As churches, we MUST teach about God’s plan for marriage and sexuality. Not using scare tactics, but really teaching truth. The scope of this problem demands our attention.
The second story broke today. My home state of Virginia is going to require the vaccine for all rising 6th graders. There will be an option to opt out, but is that a wise thing to do? As a dad, I’m concerned for my daughter and the society that she is growing up in. She is a tweener now, not a teen or pre-teen, but not an innocent child either. My responsibility as a parent means that I need to protect her and provide for her safety. I hope and pray that she will make decisions that never put her in a position to be affected by this disease, but I can’t live her life for her.
So does that mean that this vaccine should be given to all young pre-teen girls? For me, I haven’t decided, although I am probably leaning toward this being a good thing. I also think we need to be very careful about the message we give to young girls who will be taking this vaccine. It is not a cure-all for all STD’s. It only vaccinates against one strain of one disease. But it is a disease that leads to cervical cancer in a high number of females who are infected. I really am not an expert about this, so I want to continue to learn the pros & cons of this. But I do think that it is an issue that churches don’t need to ignore. Current hot topics like this are routinely dismissed by churches. Let’s look at the issue, in light of Biblical truth, and not make hasty decisions based on feelings.
What are your thoughts about this?