Lauren (edition10) wrote in feministsanon,
Lauren
edition10
feministsanon

HPV vaccine meets (ridiculous) opposition

So, there is a new HPV vaccine. Yea! It is so rare that we get such solid advances in women's preventative healthcare, especially something so important to women's sexual health. Surely such an important advancement will be met with nothing but happiness. You'd think so.

Conservatives Oppose New Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Why? Because they think it will encourage young women to be more sexually active, or that it will encourage girls to become sexually active sooner. (Notice no one cares whether boys become sexually active sooner. ::rolleyes::)

Sometimes I want to bash my head against a brick wall. Sure, instead of using a safe and effective vaccine to eliminate one of the most common STDs, let's use fear of STDs to suppress women's sexuality. Great idea.

I'm going to make an appointment to get the vaccine. The vaccine is licensed to be effective in any young woman between the ages of 9 and 26 years old, and there is improved efficacy in younger women because of stronger immune responses. Pre-teen and teen girls would have the best immune response, and they should all receive the immunization, regardless of when they plan to become sexually active (or when their parents plan for them to become sexually active-- not often the same time frame, if you know what I mean). This vaccine protects against a disease that is widespread and for which asymptomatic carriers are relatively common. Even if a partner has the lesions, women may not know what to look for, or their partners may not be very forthcoming about having an STD. The absolute best way to eliminate a disease is prevention. We cannot count upon abstinence education (which doesn't work anyway) or condoms (which, let's face it, often don't get put on in time to prevent all fluid exchange) to prevent any STD. The only way that we can hope to beat STDs is to develop effective, safe vaccines. Once vaccines such as the HPV immunization are developed, it is important to support these vaccines by getting the immunization. Once drug companies see that the vaccine for this STD is successful (i.e. it makes money), they will be more interested in development of vaccines for other STDs.
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