Saturday, February 3, 2007

I'm glad we have time to figure this one out...

CatholicMom blogs about the newly-mandated Gardisil vaccine, from her perspective as a physician and a mother.

The comments on her blog post illustrate the debate going on about what to expect regarding young people and STD's. I will not rehash the entire thing here, but rather I will touch on a few of the more relevant points.

1. Assuming she is neither molested nor raped, a young woman who is celibate until marriage is very unlikely to contract the virus while she is not sexually active. Believe it or not folks, it is perfectly safe to go without sex after age 20. You won't develop any mental or emotional problems.

2. If she marries, she could still catch the virus from her husband, as well as the warts that go with it. This is a great time for her to decide for herself, depending upon what she and her doctor think is best if she wants to get the vaccine or not. The state need not interfere here.

3. Whether she gets the vaccine at age 9 or age 26, or even if she never gets it at all, she will still have to go in for regular pap smears, and it is still possible to get cervical cancer.

4. If a person with the strain of HPV Gardasil protects against walks into a crowded classroom or mall, she is not going to automatically infect everyone around her, the way she might with smallpox, chickenpox, measles, or polio.

All of these are very good reasons to leave the HPV vaccine a matter of choice for women, girls and their parents. Don't trust parents? Family planning clinics already offer birth control pills to minor girls without their parents knowledge. It's a short step from that to giving them Gardasil too, assuming they can cough up the $300+ to pay for it. I doubt it will add to the damage already done with the pills.

The clearest beneficiary of all of this, as I have mentioned before is Merck. It is already frustrating enough that drug companies advertise their prescription medications to people with no medical training, and no knowledge of how they work. There was a time when drug companies advertised to the people who prescribe their products. Now, they just advertise them to the non-medical masses, and then our politicians, who force us to get them. Oh, and guess where those advertising dollars come from? Sales! So, next time you pay for a brand-name prescription that you see on TV, know that the cost of that commercial was passed on to you. (That's why I love buying generic.) :)

The only corporate body with a more detrimental influence on the medical world is the insurance companies. And don't get me started on them.

Personally, I'm glad it will be a few years before I have any daughters old enough for this. When we do, my husband and I will be discussing whether as her parents we think it is best to let her decide when she is an adult, or whether we will decide for her ahead of time.


Anonymous said...

I have to say that I feel this has become a religious moral question when it is one of health. We have finally found something to prevent cervical cancer. Thank God for that! The responsibility is ours to teach chastity to our youth. The ignorance around this vaccination is disgusting. I wanted to wait until marriage for sex. I was raped & because of the rape I had to deal with HPV & cervical cancer. I didn't have a choice with this - the choice was taken from me. If the vaccination was around when I was young I would not be dealing with this. The rape was bad enough - now I have to deal with cancer. Your daughter may not have a choice if God forbid this happens to her. Be smart & use this God Given scientific discovery. I thought I would never have to deal with this but now I do. You may think your daughter may never have to deal with this & I hope she never does but if she does, you will wish you gave her the gift of this vaccination

Christina said...

And the possibility that she will have an experience similar to yours would certainly be a part of any decision on our part. But it would be our decision, not the State's.