To be? or Not to be…Vaccinated for HPV?

[WARNING, THIS POST GETS PERSONAL]

I stumbled upon this article a few nights ago, as I was mentally preparing myself for an annual physical on Monday. Bad decision. This is exactly the kind of research you should not be doing when you are concerned with your health (think WebMD gone wrong).

Anyways, the title intrigued me because I presumed it would give me the answer to my question: “Should you Get the HPV Vaccine?”. After all, I had already received one of the three vaccinations earlier; why not just complete the set? I feel like this is straightforward for a lot of women: the doctor tells you what to do and you do it. But I’m not like ‘a lot of other women’; in fact, I’m very difficult when it comes to taking orders that involve my health and well-being. Now I’m not the type of person to refuse necessary vaccinations, but it was the idea that these shots were not necessary but recommended that got me searching for answers.

The article begins with the scare-tactics.

“Nearly 100 percent of cervical cancers are caused by high-risk HPV… If left untreated, cervical cancer may require chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a full hysterectomy, and may even result in infertility or death.”

Having ‘Nearly 100 percent’ and ‘Cancer’ in the same sentence definitely caught my attention; I’ll give them that. The article then goes on with sections about who should get the shots, when, and how much it could cost. So it’s fair to say that despite my obscene phobia for needles, I was prepared to finish my vaccinations.

However, upon actually having my physical exam and speaking to a (I don’t say this often) wonderful OBGYN, I changed my mind once again. You see, after actually talking to a REAL doctor about the specifics of my body, I found out I didn’t really need the shots. According to her, as long as I have tested negative for HPV thus far into my relationship with my current sexual partner, AND I plan to make him my only partner (fingers-crossed), I don’t have to worry about it.

You see, this is a perfect example of how not to make decisions about your health based on the insight of a writer who turned out to have no medical-background whatsoever. I know it can be a pain in the ass to get in and out of the doctor’s office, but I’m slowly learning that sometimes it’s worth it.

-HP

(Hayley Piekkola)

#thirdblogpost

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