Since the introduction of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil in 2006, infections in women and girls have been by more than half. This statistic exceeds the expectations of researchers and although this progress is encouraging, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden stated, “the report should be a wake-up call to our nation to protect the next generation by increasing HPV vaccination rates.”
The fact that the infection rate has dropped so much comes as a surprise because the inoculation rate in the U.S. is relatively low: only a third of girls ages 13 to 17 in the U.S. have been vaccinated. Unfortunately, HPV vaccinations have been dogged by “moral panic” concerns that vaccinating adolescent girls will encourage them to be promiscuous — which is flat-out not true. Keep reading »
Teen girls ages 15 to 19 who are vaccinated against HPV are not more likely to be sexually active, according to a survey in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Another positive finding is that sexually active girls who were vaccinated against HPV were also more likely to consistently use a condom than sexually active girls who were not. This data is directly counter to overreactive screeches from conservatives who claim that vaccinating teen girls will encourage them to have sex earlier. Hopefully this will shut them up for awhile (although I’m sure Rep. Michele Bachmann is eagerly awaiting a study to prove the HPV vaccine made a woman’s child mentally retarded as proof she’s not talking total BS). One might infer from this data that teenagers who have been exposed to the idea of protecting themselves against STDs — and, for younger teens, presumably have a parent or guardian’s support in keeping them protected — continue to make responsible sexual decisions. Who’d have thunk? [New York Times] Keep reading »
There was a lot to love when Melissa McCarthy hosted “Saturday Night Live” this weekend. But my fave was a sketch she wasn’t even in: the Li’l Poundcake HPV Vaccine Doll. It might beat Kristen Schaal’s bit on “The Daily Show” for best comedic send-up about the HPV vaccine panic. [Hulu]
There are few moments in life more heart-stopping than realizing that there is something not right in your panties. A close second are the frantic Google searches you conduct with one shaking hand while aiming a mirror at your crotch with the other.
I was on the toilet when I first felt the strange patches of raised skin. Because they weren’t painful, the alarm took a moment to register. But when I got a closer look at the disturbance — bumpy white growths around the opening of my vagina — I immediately began to cry.
They’re called genital warts because that’s what they look like. I held out hope that I had some kind of simple, unshameful infection that could be cleared up with antibiotics until my gynecologist uttered the phrase. If I hadn’t already felt like retching, that truly disgusting combination of words probably would have done it. Keep reading »
Yesterday, I posted an open call for emails from people I’ve given (published) advice to here in the past to let me know whether they followed my advice and/or the advice from commenters, and how they’re doing today. I expected I might hear from people who didn’t like what I had to say, as well as from those who did. I’ve gotten a lot of grief for some of the advice I’ve given, and occasionally — not very often, but sometimes — I’ll have second thoughts about something I’ve said … or the way I’ve said it. Never has this been more the case than with the person you’ll hear from after the jump. She hated my “advice,” and rightfully so. We had some back-and-forth email exchanges afterward in which I said some more things I now regret. I ended up apologizing, but judging from the email she sent yesterday, she’s still pissed. Anyway, it was a learning lesson for me and for that I thank her. I’ve tried to be less presumptuous while still telling it like I see it and doling out “tough love” when it seems necessary, but sometimes I make mistakes. I’m human; it happens. After the jump, check out one of my biggest missteps. Keep reading »
Lux Alptraum has written an intriguing piece for Jezebel, “The HPV Vaccine’s Misguided Scare Tactics.” Alptraum argues that Merck, which manufactures Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, uses scare tactics in its commercials to push women to get the HPV vaccine, thereby driving more money into Merck’s deep pockets. One commercial features an animated woman going to the gynecologist for her annual pap smear and finding out she has full-blown cervical cancer. The music is grim. The tone is doomed. An alarmist vibe permeates the tale. In fact, Alptraum says, women who get annual pap smears are highly unlikely to develop cervical cancer, if HPV is caught early. In addition, the woman in the ad is white, while the fastest growing group of women getting diagnosed with cervical cancer is Hispanic women. Alptraum isn’t against Gardasil; she got it. But we agree that terrifying women is no way to get them to pursue good gynecological health practices. Watch the ad, read the story, and decide for yourself. [Jezebel] Keep reading »