Governor Jerry Brown is considering Assembly Bill 499, which would allow minors to receive treatment for sexually transmitted diseases without parental consent. Those services could include receiving vaccinations against the HPV virus, which has been associated with cervical cancer. We discuss the bill’s pros and cons.

Tonya Chaffee, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at UCSF
Bill May, chairman of Catholics for the Common Good
Toni Atkins, California assemblymember and author of AB 499

  • Sherri

    How do 12 year olds get genital warts?



    • 135avidreader531

      Sherri –
      There doesn’t have to be actual intercourse to get the infection. if your partner has it and you have skin to skin contact, even without penetration, you can get the infection. It is transmitted through oral sex as well. .

      This is from the MAYO clinic website. It is a reliable source of medical information on the web. HPV infection occurs when the virus enters your body through a cut, abrasion or small tear in the outer layer of your skin. The virus is transferred primarily by skin-to-skin contact.
      Genital HPV infections are contracted through sexual intercourse, anal sex and other skin-to-skin contact in the genital region. Some HPV infections that result in oral or upper respiratory lesions are contracted through oral sex.

      There doesn’t have to be actual intercourse to get the infection. if your partner has it and you have skin to skin contact, even without penetration, you can get the infection. it can also be orl to genital contact.

  • Fuppels

    I’m not even from CA but I know that Herpes is epidemic in SoCal and chlamydia is epidemic in NorCal.

  • Michael B

    Your guest, Mr. May, sounds like he’s advocating for the right to be negligent in his daughter’s health care. Society as a whole has already shown strong consensus that opting out of more traditional vaccines is ignorant at best, if not reckless endangerment. New vaccines aren’t any different.

  • Renata

    I have a question about the side effects and who would be responsible if anything happens to the child?  the medical bills etc…

  • Any mother and father of a sexually active 12 year old has already failed so completely as a parent as to have abrogated their rights to dictate that child’s medical decisions.

  • 1984niceguy

    I am a 27 year old gay male. Like your recent caller, I am infected with a non-cancerous form of HPV which has resulted in multiple serious, painful,  procedures to remove dysplacia (warts), and it is something that I will potentially have to deal with for the rest of my life…I wish that I would have had this option available as a teenager. We need to be focusing on girls and boys equally gay or straight….this is coming from a very personal place

    • 1984niceguy

      in addition, I would not have seeked the vaccination if I had to go to my parents…

  • Tom

    My understanding is that the HPV virus also cause venereal warts. Is this true? 

  • I have a 9 year old daughter.  My gut reaction was that she shouldn’t have access to any reproductive services at 12 without my involvement.  However…

    Two thoughts come to mind.

    First, the penalty for failing to get parental consent should not be cancer, ever.

    Second, if I want to be involved in my daughter’s health care, it’s my responsibility to establish that sort of relationship with her.

    Honestly, if her choices at age 12 are seek treatment without me or risk cancer to keep a secret from me, I’d rather she seek treatment.

  • Type your comment here.I was having a conversation with a young male who has graduated from a major university- he told me he considers it a part of the conversation young people should have when beginning a relationship. Men don’t want warts or herpes either and his dating pool only includes women who are protected.   

  • David

    The elephant in the room is trying to control young women having S-E-X!

  • Fred

    I wonder how many cases of HPV Catholic priests transmitted to 12 year old boys? 

  • Jmornellas

    Having seen a case of laryngial cancer caused by HPVin which the woman has to undergo MRIs every three months for the rest of her life, I strongly encourage the vaccine. 

    However, if one can honestly yes to the question, “Did your parents know about your first sexual intercourse?”, I can understand their concerns.  I doubt that there are many people who can answer yes to that question.

    Janice Ornellas

  • 135avidreader531

    The Catholic viewpoint is clearly to CONTROL teen behavior. Alas and alack, any parent of a teen will tell you there is no controlling your teen’s behavior. His is a myopic outlook predicated on teens having involved parents. Wake up. There are thousands and thousands of young people in this state who don’t have that luxury. Talk to teachers in the Oakland schools who can’t get any parent or grandparent or guardian to come attend parent teacher conferences or back to school night.  Mr. May’s outlook is useful only in some fantasyland. I am a physician and a single parent.

  • 135avidreader531

    Tom – yes HPV is the cause of genital warts.

  • 135avidreader531

    agreed. many 12 year olds are parentless.

  • David

    Where did they get this guy, Bill May? The topic is HPV vaccination, he talks about treating HIV. He talks about parents making sure the chikd takes their medicine … did he mean get the full series of shots?

    My suspicion is that Mr. May represents the world view that the threat of illness can be used as a tool to frighten young people away from having sex outside of marriage. I wonder if he thinks STDs are god’s punishment …

  • Concerned Mom

    Thanks so much for all the information. Question on one point: Did I understand Dr. Chaffee to say that the current 2 vaccines cover only 2 – 4 HPV subtypes; and none of these subtypes are the ones that cause oral-pharyngeal or any of the other non-cervical HPV-related cancers? I.e., our current vaccines only decrease the risk of getting cervical cancer; and do not necessarily decrease the risk of getting other HPV-related cancers?
    I ask because we have started the Gardasil series for our 16-yo gay son, thinking it was a good idea for many reasons, but especially to help prevent non-cervical cancer types.  Can you shed some light on this?  Thanks! 

    • Tonerun

      Yes the vaccines likely will prevent the cancers of the oral-pharyngeal as well as the rectal anal area. The majority of the HPV associated cancers in these sites are also associated with HPV types 16 and 18, so the vaccine will likely prevent these cancers as well. In fact the vaccines are now specifically indicated in preventing anal pre-cancers in both men and women. Guardasil also has HPV types 6 and 11 (in addition to 16 and 18) that are associated with 90% of genital warts. So this vaccine will prevent contraction of genital warts. These serotypes are NOT cancer causing however. I hope this help!

      Tonya Chaffee,MD,MPH

      • Concerned Mom

        Huge help – many thanks!

  • PaulSF

    During the interview a listener emailed in asking if Dr. Tonya Chaffee has any connection to the pharmaceutical industry. At that point she says, “with full disclosure…” that she does. She then changed the subject.
    #1 “Full disclosure” were occur BEFORE an interview, not once you get called out on it.
    #2 She never fully disclosed WHAT her connection is.

    Its a shame that FORUM couldn’t not find someone as a spokesperson who did not have a conflict of interest for such an important vaccine.

    • Tonya Chaffee, MD, MPH

      Hi Paul,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes I am an educational speaker for Merck. That is my
      full disclosure. Unfortunately, because it is the pharmaceutical industries who
      manufacture the vaccines, (and not our state or federal governments or other
      non-profits) they often sponsor educators to help the public understand these
      new vaccines. Personally, I would talk about these vaccines regardless of who
      makes them, and if there was a better HPV vaccine I would speak on behalf of
      that company too, but currently there is not. Fortunately, by speaking for
      Merck I can travel and talk to the public as well as many health care
      providers, (many who don’t understand HPV and these vaccines), and I wouldn’t
      be able to participate in these educational opportunities otherwise.  I do
      speak about this infection and the vaccine based on the current evidence
      available, and as unbiased as possible. Ultimately it is up to the audience to
      make their own judgment based on what is presented, knowing the full disclosure.
      Many of my colleagues who understand these vaccines and this infection are also
      associated with the pharmaceutical industry, and that is point I was trying to
      make in my response.   Incidentally, I do
      not own any stock in Merck or have any other financial association.
      Thanks for your comments. Tonya Chaffee, MD,MPH

  • ConcernedParent

    It is disingenuous for Dr. Chaffee to pretend to be the savior of health of 12 year old kids with troubled relationships with their foster parents (as she claimed in her case to be between kids and their parents)  to further her own financial interest and that of her pharmaceutical buddies. As one of the posts say below, she did not even reveal her conflicts of interest before talking about the subject pretending to give objective scientific information. Can someone with a hidden conflict of interest give you the full and true picture of risks and benefits?

  • DanielDanielson

    It is sad to read the obscurantists’ posts here. The arguments of the Catholic speaker were mediocre and weak. Although, he is a talented demagogue.; I’d give him that.

    “Parents want to be there to make sure that their kid takes a pill on-time”. … If a kid is mature enough to go for that vaccine, she should be able to control that, too.

    Another one – if it does not NECESSARILY prevent cancer 100%, the bill should be rejected. If it did prevent cancer 100%, would the bill be OK?
    Nothing in the medical/pharma domain is 100%. As a rare occurrence, one can have complications from Tylenol.

    At some point, a parent must get over it and start trusting his kid.

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