The HPV vaccines have always been controversial. I believe a great deal of this has to do with a prudish attitude towards sex, that if people are catching HPV, they shoulda oughta known better and just said no to the nookie. I have expressed many times how incredibly foolish I consider this notion because people don’t say no. Facts are facts, and using a virus which causes potentially fatal cancers as a punishment for supposed immorality just doesn’t seem like a very virtuous position to take.
Harriet Hall has a fantastic article up at Science Based Medicine entitled Cunnilingus, Michael Douglas’s, Cancer, and the HPV Vaccine which offers some more food for thought on this particular topic. HPV, research has shown, isn’t just responsible for cervical cancer. There’s a whole lot more going on here, including throat cancer (which is markedly on the rise), anal cancers, and esophageal cancer to name a few. That’s a lot of cancer, and oral and anal sex with people with HPV is a significant problem.
Dr. Hall explains the particulars in greater detail, and I highly recommend reading her post (which I’ll link to again just to make sure you do) to get a fuller understanding of the particular cancers and their relation to strains of HPV, as well as the shattering of myths around the HPV vaccine.
The data is in. We know that HPV is a far more serious health concern that can be transmitted in more ways than simply unprotected winkie-to-hoohoo sex. We can tell our children all we like to avoid any contact with the genitals of the opposite sex, but we are working against too many factors, from peer pressure to biology, for that to be even remotely a sensible approach to fighting cancer. Are we really that cruel that we would threaten a series of dangerous and potentially terminal diseases towards the general public just to ensure that everyone is abstinent?