Friday, December 01, 2006

HPV Vaccinations

I just checked out a link to an article about the new push to vaccinate all pre-adolescent girls against HPV, which has been linked to some cervical cancers.

I'm not on-board with giving young girls this vaccine, for several reasons:

1) It hasn't been studied long enough. Even its promoters acknowledge that long-term effects are still unknown. Is it possible that it will have side-effects affecting fertility, development, or other bodily or mental changes? It does have potential, but why push so hard? We need to take this slow, rather than find ourselves with a bigger problem in the future.

2) Vaccinating all girls strikes me as overkill. Not every woman will be exposed to HPV. Of those, not every women will develop cervical cancer. So, why are we treating this like polio, where even a passer-by could potentially infect you? HPV is not spread that casually.

As I understand it, HPV causes most of its problems when other infections are present. The severity and duration of the warts increases when multiple infections are there - as would be the case with promiscious partners. HIV-infected gay men have shown the cancerous changes associated with HPV infection, for example.

3) HPV vaccinations DON'T PREVENT CANCER - they only work against about 70% of the HPV types.

But backers are promoting it as a total solution. I'll bet that most people don't know it isn't fool-proof.

4) Backers of the vaccine point out that abstinent women can be infected by a promiscious partner.

That's true. So, why haven't we bit the bullet, and promoted, instead, an STD check before sexual activity? Think about it - not, run out and buy a condom, or, make sure you're wearing the patch, but, don't get naked before a total STD check - HIV, HPV, hepatitis, etc.

Will that stop all STDs? No. But neither will the vaccine.

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