Thursday, January 18, 2007

Why Your Perfect Little Angel Should Still be Required to Get Vaccinated Against HPV

I saw this coming a mile away.

There is now a vaccine against 2 of the viruses that contribute to the STD HPV, which is a major factor in cervical cancer. But parents are objecting to action by a few states to make the vaccine mandatory. Despite that there are measures in place to allow parents to deny vaccinating their children for religious or health reasons.

Obviously it's mostly Christian parents objecting. Why should their chaste little angels, who would never have sex before marriage, get vaccinated?

Well, let me give you a few good reasons.

First, the most realistic reason: nobody's kids are perfect. Only 5% of people in the U.S. are virgins on their wedding day, and by the age of 44 99% of Americans have had sex. Most likely, your little girl will have sex before she's married, no matter how good of a parent you think you are.

Second, the scary reason: Your child could be raped. This happened to a friend of mine, and not only does she live with the burden of the memory of the assault, but she now lives in fear of cancer since she caught HPV from her attacker.

Third, them damn boys: If your little girl does happen to make it to her wedding day as pure as newly fallen snow, what about her husband? Are you telling your sons to keep their dick in their pants as well? Because that's the other half of how HPV is transmitted.

For this third reason, I think if states are going to make the vaccine a requirement for teenage girls, they need to make it a requirement for boys as well. Males aren't as likely to get cancer from HPV, but they are carriers and HPV can be transmitted by males even without viable outward signs.

So, all in all, this is yet another reason religion is so scary and dangerous to society. People think their families are immune to the harms of the world because they are religious. They are in denial if they truly believe that little girls who make a promise to Jesus first surely will keep it. Abstinence only right? Hiding from the truth, that kids are having sex, just means that their children know less about their own bodies, less about how to make a good decision when to have sex, less about how to protect themselves from disease and pregnancy when they do choose to have sex, less about what to do if they do have a sexual problem, and scared to ask!

I imagine there would there be the same objections to an HIV vaccine if it were developed. I smirk a bit though to think that I can see a future where STD's are only acquired by "good and moral" religious folk who never got vaccinated.


Blogger Tom Foss said...

There's another reason, too, and one that has nothing to do with sex. I had an outbreak of warts on three or four of my fingers a few years back. After a few attempts at conventional removal, the doctor said that these particular warts were very similar to HPV, and thus were particularly tenacious. Eventually, some combination of the liquid nitrogen and medicated ointment cleared up the problem, but it would've been nice to have avoided the ordeal altogether.

So, the point is, HPV may not be completely localized to the genitals, and you may have a chance of getting them without any sexual exposure at all.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Pedro Timóteo said...

From Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation":

Consider, for instance, the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is now the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. The virus infects over half the American population and causes nearly five thousand women to die each year from cervical cancer; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than two hundred thousand die worldwide. We now have a vaccine for HPV that appears to be both safe and effective. The vaccine produced 100 percent immunity in the six thousand women who received it as part of a clinical trial. And yet, Christian conservatives in our government have resisted a vaccination program on the grounds that HPV is a valuable impediment to premarital sex. These pious men and women want to preserve cervical cancer as an incentive toward abstinence, even if it sacrifices the lives of thousands of women each year.

These people are monsters... no doubt about it. :(

4:49 PM  
Blogger new.atheist said...

I agree, to not vaccinate their children as a form of preemptive punishment is evil. If you're not vaccinating children, then why feed the poor? Obviously it's their own fault they're poor and they should suffer because of it... Jesus would want bad people to suffer for their "sins".*

Tom, you are right that HPV isn't limited to the genitals. Good christian girl gives HPV guy a BJ (because that's not sex*), so girl gets HPV in her mouth, and the next boy she kisses is exposed as well. Now just imagine getting a wart frozen off your lips.

(*Sarcasm intended.)

10:24 AM  

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