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Monday, August 21, 2006

LA School District Offers Free HPV Vaccine

posted by on August 21 at 11:29 AM

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.


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And Gardasil has the added bonus of being a funny name for a drug that prevents against the venerable wiggeties.

Posted by SEAN NELSON, EMERITUS | August 21, 2006 11:37 AM

I don't know about anyone else but when I was getting vaccinated at that age I had no idea what those shots were for. All I knew was that I was getting out of homeroom. I think the whole arguement against the vaccine gives 13 year olds way too much credit.

Posted by M | August 21, 2006 11:52 AM

Picky, I know, but technically the vaccine is not nearly 100% effective at preventing HPV. It's nearly 100% effective at preventing the four most dangerous strains of HPV, which in turn are responsible for something like 80% of the cases of cervical cancer.

Posted by annie | August 21, 2006 12:08 PM

Now, not that I disagree, but I have to think that anyone equating sexual activity with stepping on a rusty nail isn't doing one of them correctly.

Posted by BC | August 21, 2006 12:37 PM

You step on the nail your way, I'll step on it mine, OK?

Posted by Fnarf | August 21, 2006 12:49 PM

I hate to ask the obvious question, but does anyone have the addresses to these soon-to-be-slutty middle school girls? Don't worry, I'll pick up a rubber from the neighboring elementary school before I visit...

Posted by snoino | August 21, 2006 1:20 PM

I always laugh at that 'it'll promote sex' argument. Conservatives are fools. Teenagers ALREADY ARE sexually active. They were even fooling around in the allegedly sacred 40's and 50's.

Posted by Gomez | August 21, 2006 10:18 PM

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