Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Vaccine To Prevent Cervical Cancer!

A day long dreamed of by so many! According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition
370,000 thousand women will be diagnosed this year. About 80% in developed countries. More would be found in developing countries, but screening and detection are very low there. 200,000 thousand women will lose their lives to this disease. if only it were preventable, how many mothers would still be with their children?

The vast majority of Cervical Cancer is caused by certain strains of the Human Papilloma Virus. Now Galaxo-Smith-Klien and Merck have developed a vaccine against HPV and will be bringing to market! What a day!

Or not.

You see The Family Research Council and likeminded groups appear to be mounting opposition to the vaccine.

First blog post and already I've slipped my leash on reality! you must be saying.

Perhaps not: You see HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Like any other vaccine in order for it to work, you have to take it before you get infected. FRC believes that immunizing young women against an STD sends the message that it's OK to have sex before marriage. Therefore:

Ix-Nay on the Ure-Cay

I find this line of reasoning a bit perplexing. I allowed my daughters to be vaccinated for Hep B at birth, another disease that can be spread through sexual contact, am I encouraging them to be promiscuous?

I fully expect that a religious conservative organization would discourage teenage intercourse. As a health professional, I know that early intercourse is linked to a myriad of problems, some deadly. We part company when it comes down to denying a potentially life saving vaccine on the possibility, that it might send the wrong signal.

About half of all teens report some sexual activity and fear of pregnancy is the number one reason those who abstain do so. With puberty starting in the early teens and the average age of marriage in the mid twenties- Average number of sexual partners for men is about 20 and for women is about 6 (ABC Poll). There is a lot of opportunity for problems.

Will abstinence prevent this? it sure will, but even the best of people with the best of intentions sometimes falter. Isn't that why we're offered forgiveness?

I fully expect that FRC and others will continue to offer abstinence as the solution, however until they can figure out a way that it can be 100% implemented, could we at least prevent a little cancer?

I wonder: Perhaps the message is- If you both didn't save yourself for marriage- you deserve the cancer.


Blogger John Fracchia said...

Interestingly enough these are often the same folks who advocate strongly for the death penalty and for the unchecked right to possess firearms. You certainly don't see them petitioning Congress to outlaw guns on the chance that someone might use one to commit murder. Apparently they only seek to prevent "selective sinning." Ironically, it's usually the ones that involve sexuality in some way. Hmmmmm...

6/13/2006 01:37:00 PM  

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