*The opinions expressed in this article are mine alone. Each individual reserves the right to live and choose as they best see fit.
I have seen a few articles recently touting the need for greater national exposure to the HPV vaccine, a series of shots given meant to prevent the spread of Human Papillomaviruses which cause things such as genital warts and certain types of cancers. I firmly believe in the right of any individual to make individual choices concerning his or her own body. That responsibility also lies with parents to make the best choices possible for their children. In the case of this vaccine, I believe the recommendations by the CDC and other medical groups are misguided and counterintuitive.
First, the CDD website recommends the following: The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. But elsewhere on their site, under an article about risky sexual behaviors in youth, there is a score of worrisome statistics regarding unhealthy sexual behaviors and the need to curb them. Rather than teaching kids about the theories behind sexual activity (the “why” or “when”) there is only a list of the “how,” attitudes and behaviors suggested that they adopt, such as “reducing the risk for STDs and unintended pregnancy.”
The reasoning is all there behind the rules and recommendations but NO ONE comes out and says it. Abstinence works. It prevents this stuff. It is possible, it is healthy, it is normal. Our society has moved away from an unhealthy shunning of those who fall into sexual snares to an equally unhealthy acceptance and LAUDING of over-active sexual discovery and behavior. I maintain the right in my own life to practice abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage and likewise the right to teach my children this practice, in place of vaccines meant to allow the continuation of harmful behavior, only with fewer side effects.
The site cancer.gov explains that “HPV vaccination before sexual activity can reduce the risk of infection.” It also states that “people who are not sexually active almost never develop genital HPV infections” (emphasis added). Weighing the odds, it seems even science can’t argue that abstinence is the most effective form of infection prevention. So why doesn’t anyone teach it?
Suggest at a local school board meeting that you teach abstinence to kids and you are laughed out of the room. Suggest it in ANY public forum and you are actually derided for your values. They are out-of-touch, they are unrealistic, they are even unhealthy. For sake of public awareness of other possibilities I submit the following:
My kids will learn about sex. Not a single one of the bunch is over 10 years old and they already know quite a bit. My kids will likewise learn about sexually transmitted diseases. They will learn about how & why they are spread, they will learn the dangers of those diseases. But they will also learn how God commanded us to keep ourselves morally chaste throughout our lives. They will learn why we have the ability to sexually reproduce, what sex is for, why we have children, how they can use it to promote a healthy relationship with their spouse and why we don’t engage in sexual behaviors with anyone before we are married.
THIS IS POSSIBLE. It is even reasonable and healthy! It is how both my husband & I were raised. Granted, our children may find spouses someday who have been sexually active previously and they will need to deal with that issue as a couple. But it should never be about telling them that we know they’re going to be reckless so “here are the things to help you during your harmful behavior.” A simple Google search brought up these articles and studies (here, here and here) that show how harmful early sexual behavior is for kids (and those were just on the first search page). Why are we sending counterintuitive messages saying early sexual activity is harmful but here is something to help you engage in it?
I invite anyone who will listen to join me. Kids should not be having sex. It is meant to be between husband and wife. At minimum it should be between ONLY adults. Our legislation, our physician recommendations, our schools, our federal recommendations, our family values, EVERYTHING should be encouraging abstinence for kids. Always, always, always. By all means teach them about the dangers of STDs and then encourage them to stay chaste until they are adults and able to navigate the waters of sexual activity with emotional maturity. Do it for the kids, please.