Monday, May 16, 2005

No Cure For You!

I don't know how I missed this item - but I'm sure a lot of people missed it as it didn't get much play in the main-stream media.

It's wonderful news - two pharmaceutical companies have perfected a cure vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) - a sexually transmitted disease which is harmless most of the time, but has a nasty effect on some women:

Radar Online:
Usually HPV is harmless, but a tiny fraction of strains can lead to cervical cancer, and that’s bad. In fact, 93 percent of the women who develop cervical cancer — which kills up to 4,000 a year in the U.S. and 250,000 around the world — are infected with HPV.
Very nasty.

And it's not a rare disease, from New Scientist:
HPV is extremely common. Half of all sexually active women between 18 and 22 in the US are infected. Most cases clear up, but sometimes infection persists and can cause cancer decades later.
Here's the rub. To prevent infection, girls would have to be vaccinated before they became sexually active. This has several abstinence only groups in a tizzy.

The Family Research Council (no link, I hate them.):
Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.
Scott Phelps of the Abstinence and Marriage Education Partnership (I don't even want to look for their website):
We’re all for preventing cancer, but is this really the way to do it?
Do they honestly wonder if a vaccine is a good way to prevent cancer? Well, YES YOU IDIOT! IT IS!

HPV can be transmitted even with the use of a condom. It is the abstinence-movement's biggest and best scare tactic. To paraphrase: "You have premarital sex - you'll get HPV and get cancer and die." The Family Research Council's own website:
It is certain, however, that one out of every 50 American women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. It is also certain, as mentioned above, that almost all cervical cancer in the United States is caused by HPV. While it is impossible to estimate how contagious high-risk HPV is compared with low-risk HPV, 2.5 million women are infected each year with at least one strain of the virus. Scientists estimate that between 30 and 75 percent of all sexually active adults are already infected with HPV. (emphasis theirs)
Naturally, this statement linking HPV to cancer and yelling about how condoms won't help, nothing will help, was written before the announcement about vaccines came out.

Hope prevails. Americans aren't stupid. From New Scientist:
In the US, for instance, religious groups are gearing up to oppose vaccination, despite a survey showing 80 per cent of parents favour vaccinating their daughters.


Post a Comment

<< Home