Madhavji: Bridge gaps in HPV knowledge at younger age

Photo by Art Writ // Special to Western News

Ideally, many university students would have gratuitous sex with no emotional or physical ramifications.

HPV can be easily prevented by vaccination – ignorance cannot be. (“Research exposes major gaps in HPV vaccine knowledge,” Western News, March 19.) It is not entirely surprising that in the community most affected by this virus, misinformation runs equally rampant.

Take a look at the Ontario Ministry of Health website on HPV -it’s all photos of girls and young women, and the brief write-up says nothing of men (who are, realistically, approximately 50 per cent responsible for the transmission of HPV).

Admittedly, the Food and Drug Administration only approved the leading vaccine, Gardasil, in 2006, so most students were never indoctrinated into this form of sexual health. But as our province takes big steps to extend seemingly all aspects of sexual education at the elementary school level, it stands to reason this crucial facet be included.

Even now, far fewer girls are vaccinated against HPV than against meningitis. The Ontario government needs to ramp up its campaigns at elementary schools. Then, by the time students reach postsecondary, we won’t have these staggering – and potentially lethal – gaps in knowledge.

The reality is, sex has consequences, and we should consider ourselves lucky there exists a vaccine capable of mitigating/preventing many of them.

Sasha Madhavji
Hons. Spec. Biology candidate