Your daughter and all females between the ages of 9 and 26 should be vaccinated against HPV. HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It may affect 80% of women before they're 50 years old. Some types cause abnormal pap smears, which can eventually lead to cervical cancer. Other types can cause genital warts. HPV is very easily transmitted. Condoms don't necessarily protect against transmission because it is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact.

Gardasil (the HPV vaccine) is revolutionary. It is an immunization that can prevent cervical cancer by protecting women from ever getting HPV. We know that the vaccine is most effective when given early, as younger girls and women will mount a more vigorous immune response.When surveyed, teens don't feel that their parents are condoning sex by giving them the vaccine. Because Gardasil can eventually prevent your daughter and other young girls from getting cancer, the message you are giving your daughter is that her future health is the focus, and not sex.Dr. Kathleen Sullivan Schiavi is an OB/GYN at East Jefferson General Hospital. To make an appointment with Dr. Schiavi or another physician at EJGH, please call HealthFinder at 504-456-5000.