Tuesday 25 October 2016

Ontario HPV Vaccine program expanded to include boys. #ONhpv Just one way we can protect our kids.

Protecting my kids is just part of the job. 

Since they were born keeping my kids safe and protecting them, while giving them the space and freedom to grow has been part of the parenting job. At times this has been as simple as making sure they had the right equipment, while at other times it's been more challenging, such as teaching them to use that equipment. I don't always get it right, but it's not for lack of trying. 

When my two boys were in middle-school the program to administer the HPV Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine to Grade 8 girls started. At the time I thought two things: 1) Isn't is great that there is a proactive way to protect against a virus linked to a variety of cancers. 2) Should my boys also get the HPV Vaccination? At the time my husband and I had several conversations about this, but life got in the way and the decision regarding this ended up being pushed to the bottom of the To Do list. 

Fast forward ten years and my kids are now young adults, one at university and the other at college. They are at an age where they'll be making (hopefully good) decisions about sex and relationships, and although I can no longer step in to protect them as I did when they were toddlers, I can have important conversations with them about how they can protect themselves. The topic of boys receiving the HPV Vaccine seems to be everywhere (on TV, the doctor's office, social media and in the news) and once again my husband and I are talking about our boys and the HPV vaccination. In the past I thought of vaccinating my boys because males can be carriers of HPV, and have a responsibility to protect their partner, but this time around I've learned HPV is also linked to cancer risks for males, so by vaccinating against HPV it would proactively protect against the most common types of HPV and these cancers. 

As of September 2016, the Ontario school-based program to administer the HPV Vaccine has been expanded to include both boys and girls in Grade 7, thereby making protection against HPV an easy one. 
  • HPV is a common infectious disease, infecting approximately three out of four sexually active Canadians. 
  • HPV can lead to cancer.
  • Experts recommend vaccinating youth between 9 and 13 years of age when the vaccine is most effective.
  • Infections caused by the most common types of HPV can be prevented with the vaccine. 
For those in Ontario with boys or girls in middle-school; the school-based clinics provide HPV vaccination free of charge making the process easy to cross off your To Do list. I wish this option had been available when my boys were in Grade 7, and regret not putting the HPV vaccination to the top of my To Do list earlier. Although I will need to purchase the vaccine, I'm still encouraging them to get vaccinated since it protects against several types of HPV, and they will still benefit from getting the HPV Vaccine. 

For more information about HPV, or the HPV Vaccination program in Ontario, please visit: http://www.ontario.ca/hpv

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about the HPV Vaccine and protecting my kids. 

"This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions of the author are their own."

1 comment :

  1. EXCELLENT. I am so glad to see this. My youngest got her shot today.