Thursday, May 05, 2005

It's An Epidemic! 

Thanks to the heads up from alert reader yank in london, who in comments at my last post provided a link to New Scientist on the upcoming HPV vaccine that will prevent most cervical cancers, we read this:
"The trouble is that the human papilloma virus (HPV) is sexually transmitted. So to prevent infection, girls will have to be vaccinated before they become sexually active, which could be a problem in many countries.
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. "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian lobby group that has made much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV.
"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex," Maher claims, though it is arguable how many young women have even heard of the virus."
As mentioned, to be effective the vaccine will have to be given to girls just before they are sexually active, and the best age for this is believed to be about 12 years old. This creates two problems in the puritanical/patriarchal mind: giving the vaccine could be perceived as giving permission to have sex, and getting it would impugn a girl's purity prior to marriage.

This was actually anticipated back in November in an article in November's Technology Review, that quoted spokeswomen from the Abstinence Clearinghouse, Concerned Women For America, and Family Research Council. And from them we get the usual reasoned, fair, and logical arguments we've come to expect:
"This thing is motivated by money as usual—and in a worldview that not everyone subscribes to,” says Leslee Unruh, founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse. Unruh believes that abstinence-only sexual education offers a better approach to preventing the spread of all sexually transmitted diseases. Other Christian values groups, such as Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council, echo her point of view.
"We know that there is what could easily be called an epidemic of HPV infection, and that needs to be taken seriously,” says Pia de Solenni, an ethicist who serves as director of life and women's issues at the Family Research Council. “However, our concern would be that [a vaccine] really isn't comprehensive, especially when you're talking about administering it to 12-year-olds. It's important to focus on abstinence.” Abstinence, Solenni notes, would prevent not just HPV, but an array of other sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV.
Many find the idea of incorporating the vaccine into school-entry requirements particularly troubling. “We need to look at this with a serious moral perspective and talk about it some more instead of just imposing it on every parent and every child,” says Wendy Wright, senior policy director of Concerned Women for America . “We're not saying don't make this vaccine available.” But, she adds, giving the vaccine at an early age sends a message. “What they've done is told this 12-year-old, ‘You can now become sexually active,'” she says. “Perhaps they could adjust this vaccine so that it could be taken at a later age.” Solenni concurs, saying that although she still wouldn't endorse it, the vaccine would best be offered only to people who are at least 18 years old. The only form of prevention she supports is abstinence from any sex outside marriage."
What a fucked up world. This is a VACCINE, assholes, not a diaphragm! It's supposed to save their lives!! It's like a polio shot, fools!

Can't somebody do something about the rampant stupidity infecting this country? Isn't there a vaccine fot that?

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