A federal advisory committee is expected to decide by the end of the month whether the first-ever vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday to prevent most cases of cervical cancer should be given to all girls before they have sex and are exposed to the virus that causes the cancer.Why don't we wait until after they have sex and are likely exposed to HPV?
But physicians note that parents may be troubled by giving their young daughters a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease, and several conservative groups, while supporting the vaccine, said they would challenge efforts to make immunization mandatory.Someone explain to me why parents would prefer to pretend their daughter would never, ever have any kind of sexual contact instead of helping to protect her from CANCER? Vaccinating youngsters doesn't give them a pass to have sex, it just makes sense both from an effectiveness point of view and it makes sense to vaccinate around the same years they are vaccinated against other diseases, no? There are rounds of shots when you're a toddler, more when you're an pre-teen.
"It's going to take a little time to get used to," said Dr. Jacob Lalezari, a UCSF physician who conducted tests of the vaccine on Bay Area volunteers. "The dads may be inclined to look at their young daughters as asexual creatures, but moms will understand. Moms have been going to gynecologists. They've had it ingrained in them that it's serious."
Cervical cancer is the second-most common cancer among women worldwide, and the third-most fatal, causing 290,000 deaths a year. It is rare in the United States, where regular screening for adult women catches most pre-cancerous cases, and about 3,700 women die of cervical cancer every year.
But the disease that causes cervical cancer -- the human papilloma virus, which can also cause genital warts -- is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, infecting up to 80 percent of women by the age of 50.
Gardasil, which is made by pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., prevents infections from two strains of human papilloma virus that cause 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. It also prevents infection from two more strains that cause 90 percent of cases of genital warts.
The FDA approved the vaccine for girls and women ages 9 to 26. Ideally, girls would get the vaccine between the ages of 10 and 12, before they become sexually active, because the vaccine is less effective once a woman has been exposed to the virus.
I can still remember how my first tetanus shot made me run out and stab myself with rusty nails.
Here's what makes my blood boil especially hard:
"This vaccine is a tremendous medical breakthrough that may save millions of lives around the world, and we celebrate it. But we do oppose mandatory vaccination," said Linda Klepacki, a sexual health analyst with Focus on the Family. "We see it as a parental rights issue. This is a sexually transmitted infection. It can be prevented by practicing the best health behaviors by abstinence and faithfulness in marriage."Except for the rare forms that cause outwardly symptomatic genital warts, HPV is almost completely asymptomatic in men.
So your saintly daughter may have made to her wedding day in a pure white dress, but if her husband messed around even a bit along the way: your daughter will be as unprotected as if she'd been hooking up with men for years. STDs are not punishment for premarital sexual encounters. They are infectious diseases that, in this rare instance, for a few forms, we can vaccinate our children against.
This is NOT a parental rights issue. This is NOT an abstinence or healthy behaviors issue. This has nothing to do with faithfulness in marriage. This is a smart medical move that only negligent parents would forgo.
I wonder why those against making the vaccine mandatory believe that a wedding ring prevents the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Sex is not the death of daughters. There is a vaccine for a form of cancer. That there's any discussion over its moral implications should shame us all.