No Ordinary Princess

...anything but ordinary...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Good News for Girls and Women

This is an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer from Friday, May 19, 2006. I practically jumped up and whooped about this in the restaurant when I read it. A local pharmaceutical firm, Merck, received a unanimous recommendation for approval from the medical advisory panel for the US Food and Drug Administration for a vaccine against the sexually-transmitted Human Papillomavirus. Gardasil, the new vaccine, could be approved for introduction and use by mid-summer, according to the Inquirer article.

In case you're not familiar with HPV, here is the very interesting CDC fact sheet on Genital HPV Infection. I find it very interesting the way this governmental agency must pussyfoot around with the wording:
"HPV infection can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. While the effect of condoms in preventing HPV infection is unknown, condom use has been associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV-associated disease."
C'mon. Why can't they just come out and say what we all know...if you're going to have sex with it, put a glove on it. Regardless of the lack of data on the effectiveness of condoms in the prevention of HPV (or any other STD) transmission, it can't hurt to use a condom! Where, oh where is Joycelyn Elders when you need her? Now that was a woman who wouldn't be afraid to put a Trojan on a cucumber in front of a bunch of 15 year-olds! Oh, that's right, she was forced out by the fundamentalist religious right. Damn!

There are some other helpful resources available at the CDC website on HPV.

Here is the fact sheet for the HPV Vaccine.

And this is the main CDC page for HPV. Very interesting stuff here. Now, if they could just do without the continual abstinence-is-the-only-way message and involve themselves in the real world...

Regardless, it's about time someone got moving on this. Despite the way the CDC seems to be downplaying the risk of developing cervical cancer from HPV infection, any case of cancer from a preventable cause should be prevented if it's within our ability. I sure would have taken a vaccine as a kid to reduce my risk of contracting the two strains of a virus that causes up to "70 percent of cervical cancers" (according to the Inquirer article) as a sexually active adult.

The vaccine also protects against the transmission of genital warts caused by two strains of HPV. I happened into a Merck drug representative when I was at my hospital for a committee meeting yesterday. (Thanks for the pen! : ) We got to talking about the vaccine and he told me their research indicates near 100% efficacy of the vaccine. Of course, longer-term follow-up studies will ultimately tell the tale of safety and efficacy but it's all very exciting news for women and girls the world over.

Now, on to that breast cancer vaccine, the HIV vaccine.....

Technorati tags: feminism / health care / lesbian / US politics
/ women's health

Addendum: Thanks to Women's Bioethics Project Blog for the link to this article about potential religious right opposition to Gardasil.

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