In the News: HPV Vaccine: Medical Miracle or Agent for Disaster?

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HPV Vaccine: Medical Miracle or Agent for Disaster?

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HPV Vaccine: Medical Miracle or Agent for Disaster? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Gardasil, the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer, precancerous genital lesions and genital warts due to human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16 and 18, according to a release at www.fda.gov. The vaccine will not be useful to women who have already contracted HPV, but will, according to recent studies, prevent some lesions and warts from occurring in young women if inoculated from age 9 to 15 and before they become sexually active. Some experts are enthused about the vaccine. The implication seems to be that people won't have to monitor their behavior and abstain from premarital sex because now the vaccine will supposedly remove this health risk of illicit sex (though there are many more risks—there's still AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, chlamydia and numerous others). A number of nations are already ordering large quantities of the vaccine to try to stem a rapid increase in cervical cancer (Deanna McFarlane, "Cancer Society and Ministry Welcome Cervical Cancer Vaccine," The Jamaica Observer, July 3.) Some Christian family groups are concerned that the vaccine will be mandatory for school-age children even without the consent of their parents. Linda Klepacki of Focus on the Family said: "By giving its highest level of recommendation, the [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] panel has placed strong pressure on state governments to make HPV vaccinations mandatory. If that happens, state officials, not parents, would become the primary sexual-health decision makers for America's children. That's the way things are done in dictatorships, not democracies" ("Panel Backs HPV Vaccine for Young Girls," Associated Press, July 1). A letter to the editor by Thomas Szyszkiewicz in the June 29 Los Angeles Times sums up the real situation: "The logic is simple, scientific and elementary. It goes like this: Human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted disease. One does not get a sexually transmitted disease if one doesn't have sex. Therefore, the way to avoid this virus is by not having sex until marriage—and [hoping] one's spouse has followed the same logic." This is, in fact, what God commands, and it works immeasurably well. For more information, request or download Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension (www.gnmagazine.org/booklets).