Crucial Myths About the HPV Vaccine

We have a vaccine that can prevent cancer, and most people don't get it. Misinformation is undermining the health of thousands of kids.
HPV infection prevalence in girls ages 14 to 19 before and after the HPV vaccine introduction in 2006

Last week I wrote about how few American kids were getting the HPV vaccine (the cancer vaccine)(about 1/3), especially in the South. Tens of thousands of cancers will be the result of reticence or misunderstanding. If you prefer video to text, today Dr. Aaron Carroll at Indiana University takes up that conversation on camera, addressing misconceptions about the HPV vaccine—including the infamous chain letter that's circulating at the moment, which says one of the vaccine's inventors is renouncing its use. The rumor is concerning to parents and young women, but it shouldn't be. Carroll moves around the screen a lot, which is forcibly MTV, but what he says checks out clearly, compellingly, and importantly:

"The only way to never get HPV is to never touch another human's genitals. Ever."

Decisions.

Presented by

James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

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