Poll: Parental Consent Should Be Required for HPV Vaccine
Credit: Teen conversation photo via Shutterstock

Most adults say teenagers should be able to freely access treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, but most say parental consent should be required for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Researchers surveyed 2,131 adults and found that 45 percent supported allowing teens to receive the HPV vaccine without parental consent, but 57 percent said teens should be able to get STD prevention measures.The poll found that55 percent said teens should be able get STD treatments without parental consent, just not the HPV vaccine.

"These poll results show the majority of adults view HPV vaccination as distinct from sexually transmitted infection prevention, and are reluctant to support taking away parental consent," said study author Sarah Clark, of the University of Michigan and the National Poll on Children's Health.

The researchers polled a nationally representative sample of adults, who did not have to have children to participate, on a variety of sexual health issues.

The human papillomavirus causes cervical cancer in women, and genital warts in both sexes. It has also been linked to neck, head and skin cancers. The Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine forfemales in June 2006, and for males in October 2011.

It's recommended that individuals be vaccinated before becoming sexually active, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This means that the vaccine should be administered as early as age 11 or 12, which can be a tough thing for many parents to consider, the researchers said.

"Parents aren't thinking their 11- or 12-year-old child is ready for sexual activity," Clark says. "Many parents ask to delay the vaccine until their child is a little older. But older teens go to the doctor much less than younger adolescents, and often, they go without a parent."

Despite the push for parental consent, 74 percent of those polled agreed that getting the vaccine is a good decision.

The findings were part of the by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

Pass it on: The majority of U.S. adults agree that teens should get the HPV vaccine, but most want parental consent to remain a requirement.

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