News LA School District Offers Free HPV Vaccine
posted by August 21 at 11:29 AMon
The Los Angeles school district will distribute the newly approved human papillovirus (HPV) vaccine to middle-school girls starting this school year, defying right-wing critics who argue that making the vaccine available will encourage girls to become sexually active. The vaccine is nearly 100% effective in preventing HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer—a disease that kills nearly 4,000 women in the U.S. annually.
On Friday, the LA Times (free reg. required) editorialized in favor of the district’s decision, arguing that objections to the HPV vaccine
mostly center on the notion that giving young girls a vaccine against STDs could encourage them to be become sexually active. But there is no research suggesting that this is the case — any more than there is evidence that giving people tetanus shots encourages them to step on rusty nails.
The value of a vaccine is in the disease it has been proved to prevent, not in the behavior it may or may not encourage. In this case, Gardasil could prevent thousands of women from dying of cervical cancer.