March 18th, 2013
12:03 AM ET
A new survey finds even though vaccines for certain teenage illnesses are available and are found to be safe, many parents aren't having their teens inoculated. The question is why?
Researchers looked at parent questionnaires collected through a national survey called "Reasons for Not Vaccinating Adolescents: National Survey of Teens, 2008-2010." Investigators wanted to better understand why moms and dads aren't taking their older children in for recommended inoculations.
“These vaccines are safe and effective and people should really have their teens get them," says Dr. Paul Darden, lead author of the study and professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. “Parents say pediatricians are telling them about the vaccines, yet they just don’t seem to understand why they are necessary or are skeptical about their safety." FULL POST
February 13th, 2013
05:03 PM ET
There are about 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) each year in the United States, costing some $16 billion in direct medical costs, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Young people are disproportionately affected, the agency said, with half of all new infections occurring in people ages 15 through 24.
"In general, CDC estimated the total number of infections in the calendar year, rather than the number of individuals with infection, since one person can have more than one STI at a given time" or more than one episode of a single STI, officials said. But "CDC used conservative assumptions in generating its estimates, so the true numbers of STIs in the United States may be even higher than estimated." FULL POST
October 15th, 2012
12:01 AM ET
There's been a lot of controversy over the HPV vaccine. Because Gardasil is designed to protect young people against human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease, some people believe the inoculation gives teens the go-ahead to have sex.
Researchers are finding that's not the case.
HPV is known to be the cause of a number of illnesses, including mouth and throat cancer, genital warts and cervical cancer. Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all girls aged 11 and 12 receive the HPV vaccine to protect themselves. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also advised that girls and boys at that age be given the shot to fight the virus strain.
But according to a new Kaiser Permanete/Emory University study published in this week's edition of the journal Pediatrics, the vaccine has yet to be embraced by the general public. By 2010, fewer than half of girls eligible for the vaccine had received even one dose.
Investigators believe that may be in part because some people who oppose the vaccine wrongly believe that it also protects against pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases, which would open the door for pre-teens to engage in sexual activity at an early age.
October 10th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
The most common sexually transmitted disease is often silent and invisible: human papillomavirus (also called HPV). But in some people HPV leads to genital warts and cancers – notably, cervical cancer.
The vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix were designed as a prevention for young women who have not yet been exposed to HPV. Men up to age 26 are also eligible for Gardasil to protect against HPV. But there are a lot of people out there who still have HPV, and nothing protects against all 130 strains of the virus. At least half of all sexually active males and females have had HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A Pennsylvania start-up company called Inovio Pharmaceuticals has developed an experimental vaccine for people who already have HPV and precancerous lesions that are associated with it. A new study demonstrating the vaccine's safety and potential effectiveness was published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
October 1st, 2012
04:49 PM ET
A vaccine against human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV, a virus known to cause genital warts and cervical cancer, is safe, according to a study of almost 200,000 girls who received the vaccine.
Concerns over the safety of the Gardasil vaccine emerged shortly after the Food and Drug Administration approved it in 2006, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians all deeming the vaccine safe and recommending it be given to girls ages 11 and 12.
Dr. Nicola Klein, pediatrician and lead author of the study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, says she hopes the study puts those rumors to rest. FULL POST
August 21st, 2012
10:15 AM ET
As the number of American parents increasingly leave their baby boys uncircumcised, HIV and other sexually transmitted disease rates are likely to climb, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, and the costs associated with those diseases could reach into the billions.
"The medical benefits of male circumcision are quite clear," said Dr. Aaron Tobian, an assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. "But while the medical evidence has been increasingly more positive, male circumcision rates in the U.S. have been decreasing."
Specifically, he says, circumcision rates had been fairly stable in the 1970s, at about 79%. By 1999, he says less than 63% of boys had the procedure, and by 2010, the rate had dropped to 55%.
March 27th, 2012
06:31 PM ET
A new study released in this week’s British Medical Journal finds that the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine, Gardasil, given to young women to help prevent cervical cancer may have some additional benefits for women who are already infected with HPV.
Gardasil maker Merck funded the study and found that the vaccine reduced re-occurrence of HPV related diseases by 46% among women who were infected prior to vaccination.
March 12th, 2012
10:32 AM ET
They don't call it "The Big C" for nothing. People don't even like to say the word out loud.
The good news, we're told, is that there are many things we can do – or not do – in our adult lives to lower our risk of developing different types of cancer. Want to avoid lung cancer? Don't smoke. Want to lower your risk of skin cancer? Stay out of the sun, or utilize a proper sunscreen.
But a new study published Monday in Cancer suggests that at least one decision our parents make FOR us may have an impact on our predisposition to certain types of cancer.
February 27th, 2012
07:32 AM ET
Parents have been hearing a lot about the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine. But what was once designed solely for girls and young women up to the age of 26 to protect them from different strains of the virus, is now also being strongly recommended for younger boys.
Following in the footsteps of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending females and males at 11 to 12 years of age have routine HPV vaccinations.
Doctors say the vaccine is most effective if administered before a child becomes sexually active, and responds better in the bodies of younger children, usually between the ages of 9 to 15.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.