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Continued: As numbers lag, HPV vaccine debate rages

  • Article by: ASHLEY GRIFFIN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 16, 2013 - 8:48 PM

Emma Fazio, now 26, received the vaccine as a 17-year-old and said she feels lucky to have gotten it relatively early.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” said Fazio, who lives in Minneapolis. “I wish that there wasn’t a stigma attached to it, since it is just preventing young people from protecting themselves against HPV and cancer.”

But for Emily Leabch, a St. Paul mother of five, it took a long conversation with her doctor to make a decision. Cancer runs on both sides of her family, and she felt the vaccine could offer some protection.

But Leabch doesn’t think the vaccine will prompt them to have sex earlier. “I refuse to live under the idea that they will not have sex,” said Leabch, whose three daughters have been vaccinated.

“I don’t see it as encouraging them to have sex any more than having the ‘sex talk’ does,” she added. “It is all in how you present it.”

Ashley Griffin • 612-673-4652

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  • Emily Leabch, back, with her three daughters, from left, Ellie, 15, Shannon, 12, and Katie, 13, photographed at home in St. Paul.

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