Unholy Alliance—Anti-Vaccine Activists and Conservative Christians Join to Oppose HPV Vaccine
Posted: 30 October 2009 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve written before about the link between religion and CAM, both the philosophical link and the political alliance. However, I could not have imagined a clearer and more fascinating example of this than the article recently sent to me by a solidly skeptical and science-based medicine provider, Gardasil Researcher Drops A Bombshell — Harper: Controversial Drug Will Do Little To Reduce Cervical Cancer Rates.

Turns out the researcher was speaking at a faux science conference put on by the major anti-vaccine group the National Vaccine Information Center, and the article was written by a Catholic journalist and lay memebr of the Carmelite Order who has made a career out of writing against abortion, homosexuality, and birth control. The anti-vaccine lobby and the conservative Christian community have made a marriage of convenience based on both opposing vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus. The anti-vaccine folks, of course, oppose it for all their usual nonsensical reasons, and apparently the religious folks are worried that anything that makes having sex less dangerous will lead adolescents to have more of it, to the detriment of their immortal souls.

I’ve written a blog post on the subject with more detail if anyone is interested.

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Posted: 30 October 2009 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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ANYONE can get HPV. Even perfect Christian virgins who wait until marriage and are faithful to their husbands can suddenly find themselves needing half their cancerous cervix scooped out with a knife, after their husband infects them. Men are at risk too, even if they are faithful to their love, what if she strays or comes into the marriage with an infection? Men are at risk of genital cancer from HPV as well. I’m sure no boys out there are excited about the fact that they could lose their junk. This vaccine is a wonderful way to prevent a lot of people from getting sick.

It’s already been established that abstinence ONLY programs do little to stop teen sex, and when those teens do have sex, they are less likely to use condoms or other forms of reliable birth control. That whole “Jesus is my birth control” thing doesn’t work out so well.

I believe that abstinence should be strongly encouraged to teens, and it should center on self-respect rather than sinning. They should learn to respect their bodies and self worth, and know that sex should (ideally) be about love.  HOWEVER, they also need to know that sexuality is normal. It’s important teens be taught that if they do choose to have sex, how to use proper protection to minimize the risk of disease and pregnancy.

For abstinence programs to believe that this vaccine promotes sex is just nonsense. Teens still have so much to fear from sex - pregnancy, AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia…. getting rid of HPV is not going to make teens jump up and say “Now I can finally have that sex I’ve been waiting for, but fear of cancer-causing warts always stopped me!”

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Posted: 30 October 2009 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The Skeptical OB, Amy Tuteur, found more complete quotations from Dr. Harper’s address which illustrate the point she intended to make and how the journalist took what she said out of context to spin it into an indictment of Gardasil. Below is her comment:

The doctor was misquoted.

Dr. Harper said:

“In developed countries where Pap screening systems have been effective for decades, the biggest value of the HPV vaccine will not be in preventing DEATHS from cervical cancer.” (my emphasis)

That’s because routine Pap smears identify precancerous cells that can be treated before they become cancerous, and identify early cancers that can be effectively treated with radical hysterectomy.

So while deaths will not decrease, we can look forward to a dramatic decrease in the number of cervical laser procedures for precancerous cells, and a dramatic decrease in the number of radical hysterectomies.

Sure, we could forget about preventing cervical cancer and just treat it when it develops (continuing to enrich the gyn oncologists) or we could prevent it with the vaccine. Prevention is better than even the most successful treatment.

Moreover, Dr. Harper reports that she has received money from both Merck and GlaxoSmithKline for consultation about and conducting clinical trials on the HPV vaccines. Her overall impression of the vaccine:

“This is a good vaccine and it is generally safe,” she said.

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Posted: 30 October 2009 05:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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How sad they twisted it like that.

I still think it WILL prevent many deaths. Even in the U.S. there are MANY young women who do not receive annual pap smears and exams. Some are among the millions of uninsured women in this country. Some are embarrassed or fearful of going to the GYN . Some young women’s parents won’t allow it, thinking it’s unnecessary because their little angel would NEVER dream of sex. Or the parents fear the GYN could secretly give them birth control while they’re there.

But even if there were no deaths, I agree with Dr. Harper that preventing hysterectomies and preventing women from having to get their cervix surgically reduced (which can complicate pregnancy) - just avoiding those two things alone would be a great benefit of the vaccine! Not to mention the benefit of NOT SPREADING HPV to innocent people!

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Posted: 31 October 2009 02:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Jules - 30 October 2009 05:53 PM

But even if there were no deaths, I agree with Dr. Harper that preventing hysterectomies and preventing women from having to get their cervix surgically reduced (which can complicate pregnancy) - just avoiding those two things alone would be a great benefit of the vaccine! Not to mention the benefit of NOT SPREADING HPV to innocent people!

Jules, don’t be silly, if the whores get HPV, it’s their just desert for their lack of purity (never mind that the man who gave it to her gets off Scot free in the dogmatic preaching of these fruitcakes!)..... mad

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Posted: 31 October 2009 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Now we know that even girls who remain virgins until marriage, and stay faithful to their husbands, if their husband gives them HPV it is THEIR fault. They probably had impure thoughts, or masturbated, and God sent them a disease to punish them for their sins. The male is not at fault. He merely brought down God’s punishment on his impure wife. He was the judgment delivery man.  tongue rolleye

In all seriousness, if I had a daughter I would give her the vaccine. It is now approved for boys as well. When my son is a teen, I will speak to his pediatrician to see if it is appropriate.

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Posted: 31 October 2009 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Jules - 31 October 2009 10:20 AM

Now we know that even girls who remain virgins until marriage, and stay faithful to their husbands, if their husband gives them HPV it is THEIR fault. They probably had impure thoughts, or masturbated, and God sent them a disease to punish them for their sins. The male is not at fault. He merely brought down God’s punishment on his impure wife. He was the judgment delivery man.  tongue rolleye

In all seriousness, if I had a daughter I would give her the vaccine. It is now approved for boys as well. When my son is a teen, I will speak to his pediatrician to see if it is appropriate.

Good for you! It is our duty to protect our children.

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