This is why I say "patriotism" like it's a bad thing.
Gardasil sparked widespread debate when it came out a few years ago, with some touting it as a miracle vaccine and some insisting it would encourage pre-teen girls to start having sex. Neither idea is true in any way, shape or form. Gardasil is designed to prevent the spread of the four most common, and most dangerous, types of HPV, which often lead to cervical cancer, one of the most deadly diseases in women. It is FDA approved for girls aged 9-26. Because very, very, very few women will be virgins until death, this vaccine is an investment in life.
Women are marrying later in life these days, after taking time to live alone, get degrees, and travel the world building friendships. Because of this, the chances any given woman has of not only being a virgin on her wedding night but also marrying a virgin and then staying with him 'till death do them part (and not remarrying) is miniscule. I would love to know how many of the parents who are teaching their daughters the value of a pure wedding night do so because they themselves had one, and not because they're terrified their daughters will be like they were when they were her age.
This is how I break it down, generally speaking: The women who do remain virgins until marriage are more likely to come from religious backgrounds and are more likely to marry at a young age. Their husbands, however, are not necessarily virgins and can still pass the disease to their virginal brides on their wedding night. So, though these women remained "pure" until being bedded by their "maybe not so pure" husbands (who's really to know/care if a man isn't a virgin on his wedding night?), and believed there was no need to vaccinate themselves against a sexually transmitted disease, they could still die of cervical cancer. Sucks.
The best way Gardasil works is to vaccinate kids before they become sexually active, which is why it's recommended for middle schoolers. It does not prevent any other STD or pregnancy, so it's not like girls will think they're home free to bang the football team (and I bet there's a strong correlation between the people who think Gardasil will cause their kids to start having sex and the people who don't want sex ed in public schools) and it doesn't take the place of responsible sexual education.
Now the makers of Gardasil are seeking FDA approval to vaccinate boys so they won't be HPV carriers. What's the excuse for parents now? It's not fucking cost effective. Because the benefit for men is minimal, the vaccine isn't worth it. There is so much bullshit in this it makes me sick. Let's not vaccinate the girls because it will make them all whores, and let's not vaccinate the boys because it's not worth the money. Oh, and don't mention sex because that's not something that will ever happen to MY kids. MY kids are good and pure. They even wear rings that say they're good and pure!
Even the most responsible kids will make the choice to have sex before they're married, and many will make this choice before they can legally be married. Can't we prepare them, so that when they do make that choice they will make it with the least amount of damage to their health, rather than condemn their actions, ensuring they won't ask for help? Is it fair to damn them, as adults, to an increasingly more common death because they made the same choice most parents made? I hope not.