Friday, February 16, 2007

Topic Revisited

ANtonia was kind enough to take the time to comment on a previous post of mine. I felt that her comment had some very good information in it and wanted to post it in a more prominent manner so that more of you would see it. I do have a few comments that will be highlighted within her text.

Thanks for an interesting post (I was directed to it by Laura!)

As way of introduction, I am a Catholic medical student (in my 5th yr of med school) living in England. I can't comment on the insurance company issue (because I have no idea about the situation in America!), but I'd like to just say a few words about some of the medical issues you raised in your post (which I do know something about!) Fantastic! We need more Catholic Doctors in this world!!

Ms. Ferrar is correct when she says that, in order to be of any use on a population level, the HPV vaccination would have to be given to young girls (say from age 13). In Texas, 6th grade girls can be as young as 10 years old.

The reason being is that once someone gets infected with the virus the vaccination is of no use whatsoever.

The vaccination works by preventing the virus from ever infecting the person's cells. But if you already have it, then it's too late.

As most women in America already have the virus (60% of sexually active american women are infected), it is not really of any use, on a population level, to encourage older women to get the vaccination (e.g. the teachers). Those numbers are staggering and scary. I wonder what the incidence is in men. Since 60% of women do not get cervical cancer in this country, I am assuming that somehow the human body is able to fight off this infection on some level. Of course of the many strands of HPV that are out there, this vaccine claims to only protect against 4 of them.

If the vaccination is going to be of any benefit in preventing people getting the HPV virus
then it has to be given to people who don't yet have it....and so that's why younger girls are the main targets.

I totally 100% agree with you, the level of promiscuity in the world is dispicable, and the young age at which people engage in sexual relations is horrific. Abstainance programs should be fully implemented and encouraged in schools.
And yes, it does seem somewhat insulting that they are automatically assuming that noone can 'control their urges' and refrain from promiscuous sexual activity, but from their point of view noone can! (if you look at society as a whole) I strongly believe that this line of thought is directly related to the demoralization of human life that began when we legalized abortion and accepted birth control into our society as "rights" and "choices" that have only led us down the path to where we find ourselves today.

Secondly, there is no need to wait 10 years to see if the vaccination is effective at preventing gynaecological cancers caused by the HPV virus.

The clinical trials which were done on this vaccination before it became commercially avaliable followed women for about 2 years after they were given the vaccine.

The research found that not a single woman who recieved the vaccination got a genital wart or precancerous lesion or cancer itself. Could it be possible that these women were not exposed to the virus? I think it would be hard to find a study group or focus group that could purposely expose willing participants to HPV in efforts of determining the efficacy of the vaccine. And I also would like to know the longer term effects of the vaccine on those who have yet to be born. Remember, abortions weren't harmful to women and now there are studies indicating that this is not true. There is a link between breast cancer and abortion. This was discovered many years after the procedure was made legal.

This is pretty amazing, when compared to compared to women in the non-vaccinated cohort, a significant proportion whom did develop genital warts, precancerous or cancerous lesions.
(both groups of women, vaccinated or not, had the same level of exposure to sexual risk factors.)

Although some may say that it takes '10 years' for fully invasive cancer to be present, genital warts or precancerous areas are detectable within months of exposure, and so the fact that that none one of the vaccinated group ever developed these is pretty un-arguable evidence for the effectivess of this vaccination in that regard.

(But a single vaccination does only have a half-life of about 4.5 years, so one or two booster shots would be necessary for life-long immunity).

Also, it wasn't just one study that was done; many many clinical trials in different countries have been carried out, all with similar results (i.e. all showing a 0% rate of warts, pre-cancer or cancer in vaccinated individuals).

Finally, I totally agree with you that it is very very dishonest and terrible of doctors not to tell their patients that the HPV virus is a sexually transmitted disease.
It used to get me very frustrated when I saw young woman after young woman after young woman (all in their early-20s) coming in because they were found to have pre-cancer on their smear tests, and were HPV positive....and the doctors NEVER told them of their HPV status, or that it was a STD. (not that it would've made any difference anyway, once you're infected you can't get rid of it).

But yeh, HPV is not like measles, and the marketing for this vaccination should not portray it as such because that is just dishonest. Also, if what I have been hearing from America is true (i.e. that some schools are making it mandatory for girls to be vaccinated), well that is absolutely terrible and unacceptable. Texas has made it mandatory, or rather the Govenor has, and that is what has caused my greatest concern. Parental rights are being removed from parents each day. This is another example of just that.

anyway, just my 2 cents!
Thanks for an interesting post!

God Bless

Antonia, I really do appreciate your information and have learned from it. I hope that I am not sounding like I do not agree with vaccinations or even vaccinating against possible cancer, because I am not. I want to see information. Information that proves or disproves my concerns. If that can not be given to me, then how can this possibly be made mandatory? We all know that cigarette smoking is cancer causing and not just for the smoker. Many others die from 2nd hand smoke every year. Many children develop life long allergies, asthma and other illnesses from this "habit" of others, yet when local law authorities attempt to pass legislation to protect the children and non-smokers, it has a hard time passing. Thankfully more public places are adopting this into their business practices. But if Govenor Perry can tell me that I MUST vaccinate my child against HPV, why can't he dictate that a parent can't smoke in their home?


Barb, sfo said...

There is legislation pending in NJ (where I am)and other states that parents can't smoke in their cars. In Texas it's a law that foster parents cannot smoke in their homes or cars with kids present.

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

K, I liked your comment, "I think it would be hard to find a study group or focus group that could purposely expose willing participants to HPV in efforts of determining the efficacy of the vaccine." Not to be too snarky but seriously, this is GENITAL WARTS we are talking about here! Yuck. That was a good point that I hadn't thought of. Who's to say that the study is really very accurate? Two years doesn't seem very significant to me when it comes to something this serious. I guess we'll have to keep asking questions and keep ourselves informed before we can really resolve this one. In the meantime I can't advocate this vaccine but if someone asked me why not, I would be fair and lead them to some pro AND con websites and doctors. We both have an agenda but it's up to the individual to decide which agenda (if either!) is the honorable one. Sheesh, it's so hard to be a parent. Heck, it's hard to be a human these days!

K said...

I agree Laura, it is hard to discern what is really best for our families, especially when agendas abound. Even more difficult to make informed decisions when dictators, er I mean, govenors do it for us.