Reducing the Rate of Cervical Cancer: Ethical Challenges in Public Health
Journal of National Black Nurses' Association : JNBNA 2010 Dec; 21(2): 39-43
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and HPV is the single most significant risk factor for acquiring cervical cancer. There are two vaccines that prevent some strains of HPV and are believed to help reduce the rate of cervical cancer: Whether or not the HPV vaccine should be mandated has resulted in monumental debates and given rise to several ethical concerns. For instance, how will mandating this vaccine affect the patient's right to self determination ? Will parents accept a vaccine that prevents a disease that is primarily sexually transmitted and targeted for adolescents girls? Have studies proven the vaccine to be effective against the types of HPV associated with cervical cancer? This paper critically analyzes several studies that address these questions and utilizes the nursing code of ethics as a framework to reveal inherent ethical issues confronting nurses.
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