Monday, October 31, 2005
Why prevent cervical cancer if it leads to too much sex?
The vaccine protects women against strains of a ubiquitous germ called the human papilloma virus. Although many strains of the virus are innocuous, some can cause cancerous lesions on the cervix (the outer end of the uterus), making them the primary cause of this cancer in the United States. Cervical cancer strikes more than 10,000 U.S. women each year, killing more than 3,700.
The vaccine appears to be virtually 100 percent effective against two of the most common cancer-causing HPV strains...
Officials of both companies noted that research indicates the best age to vaccinate would be just before puberty to make sure children are protected before they become sexually active...
"If you really want to have cervical cancer rates fall as much as possible as quickly as possible, then you want as many people to get vaccinated as possible," said Mark Feinberg, Merck's vice president of medical affairs and policy, noting that "school mandates have been one of the most effective ways to increase immunization rates."
Naturally, this being about women and their sexuality, the social conservatives must get involved. And not in the good way. Keeping in mind how beholden to the religious right the White House has become, should we be suprised that "a former member of the conservative group Focus on the Family serves on the federal panel that is playing a pivotal role in deciding how the vaccine is used."
Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage...If I understand this right, the only way to promote abstinence is to keep the other option as deadly as possible. So much for having faith in their message.
Exactly how the vaccine is used, however, will be largely determined by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a panel of experts assembled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta... [S]aid Reginald Finger, a doctor trained in public health who served as a medical analyst for Focus on the Family before being appointed to the ACIP in 2003: "There are people who sense that it could cause people to feel like sexual behaviors are safer if they are vaccinated and may lead to more sexual behavior because they feel safe."
Thanks for posting....great blog, by the way. :)