The HPV Vaccine Controversy
Sex, Cancer, God, and Politics: A Guide for Parents, Women, Men, and Teenagers
by Shobha S. Krishnan
August 2008, 248pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35011-5
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35012-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Details the Human Papilloma Virus, its role as a cause of cancer, the controversial new HPV vaccine, and what that means for parents, girls, women, boys, and men.

The Human Papilloma Virus, so-called HPV, is one of the most widespread sexually transmitted diseases in America, with more than 20 million infected now and more than 6 million new cases detected each year. It is estimated that at least 50 percent of all sexually active people will be infected during their lifetimes. And while the silent disease may cause no symptoms in most cases, two strains of HPV cause some 70 percent of all cervical cancer, which strikes more than 10,000 women in the United States alone each year. So it is with great fanfare than an HPV vaccine, tested around the world and approved by the US government in 2006, is being marketed. But controversy surrounds the vaccine, which is being recommended for girls as young as 9 and may be mandated by state governments. In this timely book, Shobha Krishnan, M.D., of Barnard College, Columbia University – a longtime gynecologist and family physician, and mother of a young daughter – explains in layterms both the disease and vaccine to parents, youths, men and women. She also addresses the controversy, legislative aims to require the vaccine, and another vaccine to hit the market this year. Krishnan also raises the issue of whether boys should get the vaccine. Coverage across the book is comprehensive and addresses both the pros and cons of anyone being innoculated.


Parents, teenagers, and young adults considering the HPV vaccine will find all of the answers to their questions in this book, which also features a chapter listing all of the questions asked, and answers given, when Krishnan ran an informational clinic for college students curious about the disease and the vaccine. The book also addresses the need for vaccine booster shots, what is known about side effects, and whether or not it can protect boys from contracting or transmitting the virus, or getting genital warts. In addition, a final chapter highlights some of the personal stories and anecdotes of cervical cancer from women in developing countries, and the role the vaccines could play in those countries.


Book of the Year - 2nd Place, Public Interest and Creative Works, 2009—American Journal of Nursing, January 1, 2010

International Book Awards - Winner, Health: Women's Health, 2010—International Book Awards, May 18, 2010

International Book Awards - Winner, Health: Sexuality/Sex, 2010 —International Book Awards, May 18, 2010


"This book is packed full of information. It should be a tool for parents and for health classes in high school, as to teach all teenagers the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases / infections and to also encourage both parents and teenagers to be open and honest in regards to their sexual activity. This book contains so much needed information, from the cause to the treatment, and also the vaccine itself. If I had a teenager, or a child in puberty I would definitely use this book as a learning tool. As a nurse, of course I find any writing related to Health care very beneficial, but that said, shouldn't all parents be informing their children not only the importance of abstinence but also some of the consequences that accompany their sexual urges? This book also delves into the vaccine aspects for both males and females. This book contains much needed information and also gives references and Internet resources. This book is easy for the layman to understand, and also contains a glossary."—, September 11, 2008

"Recommended for academic/medical libraries and comprehensive collections at public libraries. . . . Gynecologist Krishnan (Barnard Coll. Heath Svcs., Columbia Univ.) provides admirable and balanced coverage of the controversy and science involved. She discusses her own decision to have her daughter vaccinated and whether or not she believes it promotes promiscuity."—Library Journal Xpress online reviews, September 9, 2008

"A great book for anyone dealing with sexuality issues, as well as for the occasional lay reader who wants to know more detailed information about HPV and its vaccine. There is far too much information in this book for me to cover it all, but many college health providers will find the chapter on issues surrounding HPV infections in men to be unique and quite helpful. Many college health practitioners may not know the following: women actually get more anal cancer from HPV infections than men; an anal Pap test is available; visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid techniques are being used in the developing world as a cost-effective alternative to Pap tests; the teenage cervix is the most vulnerable to HPV infections and other sexually transmitted diseases.' "—Journal of American College Health, March 1, 2009

"Krishnan offers a well-written, easy-to-understand book that does a super job of providing timely, relevant information regarding human papillomavirus (HPV). Chapters treat transmission, effects on the human body, prevention, and how the virus causes cancer. The author, both a gynecologist and family practice physician, does an outstanding job of explaining the controversy surrounding the vaccine, and has brought to light a rarely discussed issue: why males/boys are not mentioned in the vaccination plans, when according to the date cited HPV causes almost as many cancers in men as in women . . . this volume will be a very valuable acquisition for public, two-year community college, four-year university/college, and consumer health libraries."—Choice, March 1, 2009

"Shobha Krishnan's The HPV Vaccine Controversy is a welcome and much-needed book authored at a critical time. . . . Krishnan's book does a masterful job of organizing the complex and expansive HPV literature into well-organized chapters . . . a superb book for any person who wants to be introduced to this fascinating field as well as for the more experienced clinician or health educator who wants to get a fresh and renewed perspective. . . . This is a much-needed reference source for parents who want more information and explanations before making the decision as to whether to give the vaccination to their children, as well as for concerned parents who have pressing questions and want full and detailed answers. . . . This book is a terrific contribution, and individuals involved in the HPV field should be grateful for its publication."—JAMA, June 17, 2009

"The book is impressive in the vast area covered, the questions answered, and the controversies raised. The author provides an unbiased view and is honest about what we don't know. The key facts at the end of each chapter help identify the take-home points, and the glossary and figures help emphasize pertinent information. . . . This is good addition to the books explaining HPV. It attempts to provide a complete source of information without directing patients and parents to multiple sources and sites. It covers just about everything patients and parents want to know about HPV.' "—Doody's Review Service, July 3, 2009

"Although this book is billed for lay people I am sure adolescent health physicians and nurses will also find it very useful. It is an excellent, precise summary of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and its role in cancer formation in the genital tract, and lays out the science behind the vaccine very simply and clearly. The author handles the advice on the role of sexual behaviour, infection and prevention in a very well balanced way and the FAQ section is very helpful, and even the men are included. I thoroughly recommend this book to everyone interested in sexual health especially as it relates to HPV. All clinics that see young people should have a copy of this brilliant book."—International Association for Adolescent Health, October 19, 2009

"The subtitle includes A Guide for Parents, Women, Men, and Teenagers. However, this book is also an excellent resource for health professionals; it is a fact-based and balanced approach to the HPV vaccine controversy and achieves her aim of having 'the reader become well-informed and educated with the disease manifestations of HPV and the roles of the new vaccines.' "—Canadian Medical Association Journal, October 26, 2009

"This book by Shobha Krishnan comes at a time when everyone, medical professionals and laymen alike, need to be educated on all aspects of HPV infection so that they have a better understanding of the disease process. . . . The book makes for good reading, and is thoroughly researched, handy and lucid in style. It will be useful to all those involved in the field of HPV, including those who make healthcare policies, as well as to parents, students and religious leaders. We congratulate Dr. Krishnan for this constructive and valuable contribution to the medical literature." —The National Medical Journal of India, December 1, 2009

"I believe much of Krishnan's success in spreading the word about HPV lies in her method of delivery. Rather than projecting her own personal views on the reader, she objectively and sensitively presents the facts and allows her readers to formulate their own stance. Readers come away from The HPV Vaccine Controversy feeling passionately about what they can do to combat HPV, empowered to make informed health care decisions, and better equipped to advocate for patients."—Nursing Ethics, May 28, 2010

"Dr Krishnan does an outstanding job of explaining that the HPV vaccine is prophylactic not therapeutic. . . . she provides a superb discussion on counseling patients with HPV infections. . . . The HPV Vaccine Controversy is a useful guide for the clinician and for the lay public."—Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, November 16, 2010

"Finally, there is a book that covers the often contentious debate surrounding HPV vaccinations for teenagers in a thorough and objective way. Leaving no stone unturned, The HPV Vaccine Controversy: Sex, Cancer, God, and Politics: A Guide for Parents, Women, Men, and Teenagers makes a compelling case for why teens should be vaccinated against one of the most widespread STIs in the population, and the only one that can cause cancer. Dr. Shobha S. Krishnan writes in a way that addresses the concerns of reluctant parents and even politicians alike. Kudos for a job well done."—Toni Weschler, MPH
Author of Taking Charge of your Fertility and Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen's Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.