I’m not sold on the vaccine. If you’ve competed or judged on the collegiate speech circuit over the past several years, you know that there are some concerns over its efficacy and costs. Those, in my mind, are rational points of contention.
What is not a rational point of contention is the continuous blasting of Gardasil mandates as prescribed STD prevention. Juxtapose this rhetoric with the age range in which it is often administered (think pre-teen girls), and you’ve got a recipe for misplaced indignant rage. This post does a good job of summarizing all the awful arguments being made. The pundits’ bottom line? Mandating Gardasil vaccinations gives young girls permission (and encouragement) to be dirty, dirty sluts.
There are a couple of problems here. Outside of how ridiculous, on face, that belief is, let’s take it further.
#1- HPV can be transmitted sexually, but that is not always the case. And guess what? Odds are you’ve had it at some point in your life.
Condoms do not prevent the spread of HPV, because condoms only stop semen, and HPV 16 and 18 are not typical STDs. HPV 16 is passed by skin to skin contact, not through semen, so kissing, sharing spoons, breastfeeding, playing sports will all pass it on.
The bottom line is that papillomavirus is everywhere. Some studies show that 90% of all adults have or have had the virus. It’s like the flu, and most of the time we fight it off without realising we ever had it.
#2- STDs are extra low on the list of concerns for sexually active teens.
Even so, only 7% of teenage girls in a national survey cited not wanting to get an STI as their reason for not having sex (Abma et al. as cited in Saslow et al., 2007). A study on college age women also shows that girls are mostly unfamiliar with HPV (Winer et al., 2003). Existing studies on the availability of contraception, condoms, and emergency contraception have not shown an increase in sexual activity (Saslow et al., 2007), suggesting that the HPV vaccine will not promote sexual activity.
I’ve heard a lot of chatter questioning where common sense went in politics. With continuous babble like what we hear from Bachmann and far too many other Tea Party clowns, I have no idea.