Some parents have expressed concern that vaccinating their children for HPV is almost like giving their young daughters permission to have sex at an early age. Dr. Savard says that parents need to remember that in order for the vaccine to be effective, it needs to be done before they become sexually active.
"The most important thing is to know the science and to know that the earlier and the sooner they get the vaccine before they're sexually active, the better," Dr. Savard says. "And that's questionable when they're going to become sexually active. You don't always know."
Dr. Savard says parents can approach the subject with their kids by saying it is a vaccine to protect against cancer. She also stresses that since it isn't 100 percent effective, parents should emphasize to girls who are sexually active that they can reduce their risk in other ways—such as practicing safe sex and continuing to get pap smears.