A Child Rights and Social Justice Framework for Analyzing Public Policy
Canadian Journal of Children s Rights / Revue canadienne des droits des enfants
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States (U.S.). Despite data that supports HPV vaccine as an effective measure to prevent anogenital cancers, vaccine uptake rates in the U.S. have stagnated over the past few years and only one third of adolescents are fully immunized. Adolescents are able to independently access STI diagnosis and treatment in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. However, only California allows
... a allows adolescents to obtain HPV vaccine without parental consent. This creates a paradox where youth are able to independently receive treatment for HPV infection but not for its prevention. Current approaches to HPV vaccine education and delivery have not been successful at improving immunization rates. In this paper we propose the implementation of a child rights, social justice, and health equity-based approach to frame HPV vaccine policy. Such an approach to vaccine policy will promote children's participation in medical decision-making. We postulate that by empowering children to be involved in issues pertaining to their health and well-being, they will be more likely to discuss HPV with their peers or families, and potentially be able to make informed independent decisions related to HPV vaccine.