School girls in Year eight (about the age of 12) are offered a free vaccination against HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted diseae, and is known to be a factor in cancers of the cervix, anus, vagina, throat and, in men, the penis.
It’s believed that about half of NZ girls are sexually active by the age of fifteen, and about 80% of the population will get HPV at some point in their lives. Usually it clears up by itself, but where it lingers, it can lead to cancer.
Normally vaccination rates are higher in the wealthier Pakeha and Asian populations and lower in poorer Maori and Pacific Islanders. But vaccinations for HPV have bucked this trend. The highest consent rate has been for Pacific Island girls where 71% are vaccinated. On the other hand only 52 % of Pakeha girls receive their parents’ consent.
When looking at schools by decile, low decile schools have a 74 consent rate compared to a 54% consent rate in high decile schools.
A Massey University researcher believes it is because wealthier Pakeha parents do not believe their daughters have sex.
Are wealthy parents living in cloud cuckoo land? Do they really believe that their daughters won’t succumb to the same temptations as any other red blooded kiwi girl? All they need to do is to think back to their own teen years to realise that is a fallacy.
Wake up NZ. a 58% vaccination rate for HPV is not acceptable.
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