Thursday, January 04, 2007

Why Not the Men?

I believe I have a completely different point of view on this. I have been noticing commercials on TV lately urging women to get vaccinated against HPV. Frankly, I am appalled!

It is true that women are susceptible to cervical cancer because of HPV. It is true that this vaccine will improve their chances. But let’s look at how this is being done. Women are being encouraged on commercial television to take personal action as a self-help step. This approach could equally suit a campaign endorsing allergy medicine or Pilates. This is a matter of public health policy, not selecting a brand of toothpaste!

Think about how the polio epidemic was handled. Think about smallpox and German measles. Cervical cancer is one of the more wretched ways to die, and it is not a rare disease. The Surgeon General, if we have one, should be giving public service announcements to tell people where and when to get their shots. The President, if we have one, should be appearing on news broadcasts praising the inventors and encouraging people to cooperate. Churches should be announcing special programs for those who cannot afford the treatment.

And let me ask you this. If we have a deadly disease in circulation, why are we passively accepting the easy public exposure to a hundred million Typhoid Marys?

1/4/2007 9:57 AM

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At Saturday, January 06, 2007 9:33:00 AM, Blogger Steve said...

It's the fundies again.

At Saturday, January 06, 2007 1:50:00 PM, Blogger mal said...

because for some STUPID reason, the administration does not view it as a major health problem. Maybe if Junior had his insides ripped out to cure it, his administration might be a bit more pro-active about it

My daughters have been vaccinated. Its moot for me.

At Saturday, January 06, 2007 8:18:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

It's not moot. There is a huge breeding pool for the virus that will allow it to mutate. Enough mutation will permit it to evade the body's defenses, rendering the vaccine moot.

At Saturday, January 06, 2007 11:39:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Steve, Do you really think it relates to reactionary religious interpretations? I know it's technically an STD, but we're allowed to treat STDs, are we not? If we come up with a vaccine for HIV, will we be allowed to use it? Fundamentalism opposes needle exchange programs, I know. Is that the analogy? The only thing we're allowed to change in order to prevent the disease is the behavior itself? But in this case, the men do not know they have it, and it has no consequences for men, and the women get it even if they never have sex outside of marriage. It may even be possible to get it if you never have sex. The consequences are delayed for decades and imposed on someone who has not sinned. The virus is extemely common and hard to avoid, no matter how you behave. With the needle exchange problem, everyone knows exactly what is happening and what the potential consequences are.

At Sunday, January 07, 2007 12:36:00 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Yes. Apparently it's perceived as undercutting the abstinence-only message. I think if the James Dobsons of the world placed public health above prudishness we'd probably see the situation you describe.

At Sunday, January 07, 2007 11:47:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

But, but ... it doesn't make any sense!

I can give my wife mouth microbes that promote dental problems. Would Dobson forbid dental sealants on the basis that they might tempt people to kiss?

At Wednesday, February 14, 2007 12:21:00 AM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Jebby927 sent me this message on my AOL site:

Because the vaccine has not yet been approved for use in men, it is currently being tested but did not have enough info for the approval in men. (Also it is not approved for women over 26 for the same reason) If it is effective in men I hope we will see the same call to action.

Because this is not considered a contageous disease (and I mean just by being in a room with someone, yes this is passed from one to another) it is not being treated the same as the vaccine for small pox etc.

Either way it is a huge step in the right direction for treating and preventing cancers. I know there are other studies under way to determine if hpv is possibly a link in other cancers as well - breast, ovarian (different from cervical) colon etc. I know its a long way off but it is hopeful

At Wednesday, February 14, 2007 12:23:00 AM, Blogger jj mollo said...

My response to Jebby927:

Thanks for your comment Jebby927. I can see that you are knowledgeable on the subject and have thought about it. I'm not so knowledgeable, but I have thought enough about the general issue from the perspective of actually trying to eliminate disease. What we did with polio in the US, and smallpox in the world should be our paradigm. We should aim to totally eliminate the offending viruses from the planet. When dealing with an adaptive organism, you cannot give quarter. Our battle with malaria, while successful in the US, is really an example of how to do things badly. We allowed both the mosquito and the parasite to evolve. We created a natural selection laboratory.

You can't afford to treat these battles as struggles for the lives and comfort of individuals. If you do, you condemn countless future generations to similar suffering. Cruel as it may sound, I say hold your fire until you can bring overwhelming force to bear on the enemy.

This half-hearted approach to cervical cancer is criminally negligent. By allowing half the population to keep spreading the virus, we are supporting the exact scenario that will lead to the expeditious elimination of our only weapon against it. The virus will evolve to avoid the effects of the vaccine. It's almost mathematical in its certainty.

As a matter of fact, my own advice is to wait until we have another weapon against this virus in order to insure that survivors of the first weapon will be killed by the second.
Comment from jjmollo - 2/11/07 2:35 AM


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