Monday, July 03, 2006

No brainer--or no brains?

…Years ago, HA wrote about how they can test for human papillomavirus DNA to see if a woman was susceptible to cervical cancer. There was that close an association.

…HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Oooo-sex.

…So now there is a vaccine (Gardasil) against the virus, and thus against the cancer it can cause, and everyone is hand-wringing over whether to start giving it to young girls. Yet, the earlier it can be given, the better.

…Girls as young as 9 could start on their way to being immune to a deadly form of cancer.

…So what’s the problem?

…It’s expensive ($360 for three, spaced shots) and it’s hard to round up older kids for multiple vaccinations.

…But the main big woo is that it prevents a sexually transmitted disease—wouldn’t want 9-year-olds to think it’s now OK to have sex.

…Instead, let’s tell kids to be abstinent, came the cry. This was described as a “public health method of cervical cancer prevention.”

…Gardasil does not prevent all cervical cancers…But it prevents one in your kid, say 20 years down the line, you might think this was a darn good decision.

…She will probably have had sex by then, and that argument will have faded.

…And she and most of the more than 3,000 women who would have died of cervical cancer that year would still be alive and raising their own families.


Star said...
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