Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Monday, October 31, 2005

Cervical cancer vaccine

This is just stupid:

A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates who want to use the shots aggressively to prevent thousands of malignancies and social conservatives who say immunizing teenagers could encourage sexual activity.

Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage.

Have these conservatives ever actually dealt with a teenager? Do they remember being a teenager? Fear of cervical cancer is real high on their list of reasons for or against becoming sexually active.

3700 women a year die of cervical cancer in the US. Die. We have a vaccine that can prevent that, let's use it

UPDATE: I'm also in favor of over-the-counter availability of Plan B, post-exposure contraception (i.e. the "morning after" pill). But in that case, I can see why availability MIGHT increase frequency of premaritial sex, since fear of pregnancy seems very important, even, say to married couples. As I understand it, research suggests OTC availability of contraception doesn't lead to more or riskier sex, but I could see how it might. I'd be in favor anyway, figuring these decisions are best left up to individuals


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