HPV Vaccination a Licence to Sexually Violate Minors?
By Juliet Awuor.
October 30th, Dorothy Kweyu wrote a commentary on the Daily Nation against the push for mass Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination of young girls. She argued that the vaccine would be a license to violate girls sexually.
Though there are valid concerns in some of her assertions, for instance, parental protection of children against sex pests, her views on the correlation of HPV vaccine and sexual violation of minors are unrelated. We are with her in advocating for parental holistic involvement in their children’s lives. Ideally, parents should be the source of sexuality education for their children.
According to ICO/IARC Information Centre on HPV and Cancer, cervical cancer ranks as the second most frequent cancer among women in Kenya. It is the most prevalent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age. This vaccine will serve as protection against a preventable reproductive disease, that has been a menace in Kenya. HPV is sexually transmitted.
Even before the conversation on the introduction of the HPV vaccine to the young girls, cases of defilement were ongoing. As a country, we should come out of this culture of burying our heads in the proverbial sand of morality and overlook the facts.
Paedophilia mostly is by trusted people, For example, their trusted relatives or religious leaders. A few months ago, media reports revealed how even some places of worship are not safe for children when it comes to the issue of defilement. Looking at another case, we saw the massive number of teenage pregnancies among primary school girls last year. These and similar situations did not require a licence to defile the minors. The two issues, defilement of children and HPV vaccine are not related.
The reason for the recommendation of the HPV vaccine for young girls who are not yet sexually active is that there is no possibility of prior exposure to the HPV virus.
Evidence shows that countries that introduce the HPV vaccine at a young age (11-13 years) have a low cervical cancer prevalence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 86 per cent among teenage girls,
Parents should no doubt, take an active role in educating and protecting their children against sexual predators. However, one of the two cannot replace another in a discussion.