HPV: One Mother's "Closed Door" Conversation

Some states are considering requiring teenage girls to receive the controversial HPV vaccine. Correspondent Cynthia Bowers is working on a piece about the issue for tonight's CBS Evening News -- and tells us the debate hits close to home.
(CBS/iStockphoto)
I am one of the millions of Americans with a teenaged girl, and over the last few months I have seen lots of ads for the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

Even though I like to think of myself as savvy and forward-thinking, I hadn't yet scheduled my daughter for the series of vaccinations. Maybe I have been slowed down by the thought that Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer, is a sexually-transmitted disease, and I still like to think of Chrissa as a little girl. But the truth is, none of us knows for sure when our daughters will become sexually active and, even though cervical cancer is relatively rare in this country, if my daughter were to one day become one of the 10,000 American women affected each year, I would blame myself.

The other night I went to her bedroom. After joking with her that this was a "closed door" conversation, we talked about HPV. She said she was aware of it. She and her friends have talked about the ads. I got the feeling she was waiting on me to come to her and tell her that her dad and I have decided we want her to go ahead and get the shots.

"Shots" isn't a word kids usually want to hear, but this time she just smiled and said, "Okay."


  • Cynthia Bowers

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