When it comes to woman’s health, HPV is one of the main topics of concern. How much do woman really understand about this common virus? What are the pros and cons of the vaccination that Merck has created? Are there things that we can do to prevent cervical cancer without having to have another vaccine? These are all questions that each of us need answered. After burying myself in CDC data and reports from every source known the last few weeks, I have discovered some very interesting data.

Q: How much do woman really understand about this common virus?

A: A survey of 3,000 American women (ages 18-75) administered by the National Cancer Institute found only 40 percent had ever heard of human papillomavirus (HPV). Less than 50 percent knew of HPV's connection to cervical cancer, although two-thirds knew it could be transmitted sexually and 79 percent understood it could cause abnormal Pap smears.

With stats like this it is easy to see why so many are eager to get the vaccine for themselves or their daughter’s. Many do not know what HPV is, let along understand if the Gardasil vaccine is a good choice. We just want to be “One Less” as the commercials state. Which brings us to another question.

Q: What are the pros and cons of the vaccination that Merck has created?

A: There are more than 100 types of human papillomaviruses (HPVs). Only 10-30 can cause cervical cancer. The rest can lead to skin infections that cause genital warts or common warts on your hands and feet. The vaccine that Merck has developed can prevent 4 out of the 100. If you contract any of the other 96 then the vaccine is useless. On top of this, if you’ve been exposed to one of the four types of virus in the vaccine, then you will not receive any benefit from it either. Pairing this information with the cost of the vaccination makes it hard to see many pros. The cost along is more than $350 for a three-dose regimen over six months.

The news gets even worse if you review the reports coming back on the HPV vaccine. Since October 2007 over 6,500 complaints about Gardasil have been filed with the FDA's Vaccine Adverse Event Report System (VAERS), and don’t forget the 16 girls that died after exposure to the vaccine.

I found it hard to find substantial evidence confining me to get the vaccine until further research has been done.

Q: Are there things that we can do to prevent cervical cancer without having to have another vaccine?

A: Absolutely! It is important to understand that the idea behind the HPV vaccine was to help prevent the virus from reaching woman and young girls before they became sexually active. The reason for this is that HPV is the most common form of sexually transmitted disease. A recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine shared, the use of condoms reduces the incidence of HPV by 70 percent.

Another factor to contracting cervical cancer from one of the 100 types of human papillomaviruses is your immune system. The CDC states that over 6 million woman contract HPV annually, yet less then 3,900 woman die from cervical cancer a year. Why is that? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “In 90 percent of cases, your body’s immune system clears the HPV infection naturally within two years.” Increasing your immunities and focusing on a healthy diet and lifestyle is the best prevention to HPV.

So what are a few things you can do each day to maintain a healthy immune system and help you to be “One Less?”

Increase your vitamin C through diet to help support your natural immune system. Consume foods high in antioxidants such as berries, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, kiwis, wheat grass, spiralina, chlorella and others. Find out what your bodies pH level is and learn how to become more alkaline. In America many people are living in a state of acidity in their bodies caused by poor diets, pollution and toxic overloads. It is very hard for any disease to develop or survive in an alkaline body. Eating a diet high in fiber rich foods will help to maintain a healthy intestinal tract. The majority of your immune system gets its start here. The closer to 35 grams of fiber you consume a day the better. Reduce stress in your body. Stress feeds retardation of the cells. Take time for yourself each day to sit quietly and be still. May it be meditation, prayer, or simply just quiet time, your body’s well being depends on it! Focus on living in a state of gratitude. There has been much recent talk on the effects of positive thinking. With movies such as The Secret making it widely known that our thoughts do affect our material world and state of being.

Here’s to being one less woman who does not understand the HPV vaccine and disease. Here’s to being one more woman taking charge of her body and knowing the facts.

Author's Bio: 

Rene Schooler is the co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health and is currently working on her solo work, The Elephant in the Kitchen - 9 Truths Parents Can’t Ignore. As the mother of five children she finds her purpose in raising healthy children in a highly processed country. Through the years she has helped hundreds to thousands of people discover a healthier alternative in their daily diets and regiments. She is also gaining her attunements in Reiki for further enlightenment into natural healing. Rene and her family live in the Dallas Texas metroplex. For more information you may view EK Lifestyle Blog at www.elephantinthekitchen.blogspot.com or www.selfgrowth.com/experts/r_rene_schooler.html or view her books at www.myspace.com/pathtohealth