Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gardasil, HPV and cervical cancer

You may have heard of the controversy about Gardasil which is an important tool for controlling the sexually transmitted HPV virus. Lawmakers in several countries are deciding whether to mandate the $300-$500 vaccination for all girls from 9 to 26 years of age.

Read my article in Suite 101 for the details of the health risks, but beyond that--why are they vaccinating girls and not boys? It seems to me that mandating all boys be vaccinated would be just as effective as mandating all girls. Millions of people of both sexes are being infected with the virus each year.

To mandate just girls seems to me to be based on the old "women are the source of evil" garbage. What we need is rational health policy.

Having said all that, I'm not sure I'm in favor of anyone getting this vaccine. I can sympathize with the goal of ridding society of HPV and cervical cancer, but so many girls are having strong reactions to the vaccination. I think sex education would have a better chance of lowering the rates of cervical cancer.

[July 2010: I just read that Gardasil increases the chance of cancer by 44% if the person is already exposed to the HPV. If you must vaccinate your children, then insist that the doctor test for HPV before the vaccination.]

Enough ranting . . .

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron