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Poll: Parents want HPV vaccine consent

ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 23 (UPI) -- Most U.S. adults said parents should have the final say on whether their teen or pre-teen gets vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, a survey indicates.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health recently asked a national sample of adults about allowing adolescents ages 12-17 to receive the HPV vaccinations without parental consent.

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Forty-five percent said they supported state laws allowing the HPV vaccination without parental consent.

"But in contrast, 57 percent say they support teens being able to get medical care for prevention of sexually transmitted infections and 55 percent for treatment, all without parental consent," Sarah Clark, associate director of the child health evaluation and research unit at the University of Michigan and associate director of the National Poll on Children's Health, said in a statement.

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In the short term, the HPV vaccine protects against genital warts, one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infection. However, in the long term, the vaccine prevents development of cervical cancer in females and some head and neck cancers in men.

Routine HPV vaccination is recommended for males and females age 11-12. The vaccine is most effective if administered before the onset of sexual activity, Clark said.

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"That presents a challenge. Parents aren't thinking their 11- or 12 year-old child is ready for sexual activity at that age," Clark said. "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."

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