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Of course, all the research and numbers have yet to really spill out and give us a clear picture of what's going on here. Cervical Cancer can take a long time to develop, and Merk's longest study is only 3 years long. But the real reason that the vaccine is so ineffective at preventing HPV is that there are many strains, and the vaccine only stops a few of them.

Several states are considering mandating this vaccine for all girls aged 11-26. If you live in one of these states, or if you have daughters, grand daughters or god daughters that you care about, you might want to say something to your state legislature about it.

Here's a little science for ya:
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/356/19/1991

Comments

liveonearth
May. 26th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
Didn't mean to scare ya. Guys carry these HPV viruses too, and share them without ever knowing it.... and while condom usage lowers the probability of transmission, it doesn't eliminate it. These bugs are WAY common. I read one study that said 1 in 5 college age girls have either HPV or herpes. YIKES!
gavin6942
May. 26th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm familiar with HPV and Gardasil (partially from The Nation and partially from beign a women's studies minor).

It was only about a month ago I was thinking how likely it was I could have given someone cervical cancer. I hope that I didn't, of course -- but it now seems probable.
liveonearth
May. 27th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)
Bear with me, what I'm about to spew is not "scientific fact" but only my big fat opinion. I think there are a lot of other risk factors that contribute as much as or more than HPV infection to cancer. I think this is overmuch emphasis on one little set of genital warts that is associated with getting cervical cancer later. But what if the rest of the woman were healthier? Not everyone with the "wrong" kind of warts gets cervical cancer. So in my opinion, it's not worth worrying about.

They are building up the fear of the warts and cancer in order to sell a product. This kind of hype is very profitable for the pharmaceuticals, and the FIRST step in selling the medicine is the create the disease. Given the slightest bit of scientific data that something causes something else, they'll run with a marketing strategy that blows its importance sky high. And I don't trust them one bit.

Same deal with the purveyors of the menses-stopping birth control pill. Synthetic hormones are suspect in my book. The long term side effects are completely unknown. But they'll sell us anything if we'll pay for it.
gavin6942
May. 29th, 2007 02:18 am (UTC)
I agree with this.

I don't know if the makers of Gardasil are pushing the disease. As strange as it is for me to NOT be suspicious of a company, I'm thinking they're not largely at fault.

I do agree that it's much too soon to link Gardasil to prevention and HPV to cervical cancer on the levels people are trying to do. And I also agree with the hormone thing. I personally don't use any medication myself at all (even Tylenol) unless I have to, because I think there's a bad trend to increase our reliance on medication... and it's a cycle, because the more we use it, the less our own bodies function right.

And also, ADHD is a myth. :)
liveonearth
May. 29th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
The company in question is Merk, and they have a long history of actively promoting public awareness of whatever disease they want to make money off. Usually the disease info comes about a year prior to the release of the product. I read a book that details this process and gives plenty of historical examples, but at the moment I can't recall the title or author. Argh memory. But I do believe that a large part of pharmaceutical drug marketing is anonymous media that prepares the market to be receptive to the drug, by creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty with regard to a risk.

Aside: ADHD sure is a POPULAR myth, isn't it?

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