Sunday, April 17, 2005

Lunatics

Believe it or not, Christian loonies are lining up to stop a new vaccine that may prevent the scourge of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer - and I'm amazed this isn't more generally known - is most often (not always, though) an STD caused by the human papilloma virus. This vaccine, if given before a girl becomes sexually active, could prevent most cases of cervical cancer - a dangerous disease here, but a massive killer in the underdeveloped world. What a surprise that the loonies are out to oppose the vaccine:

In the US, for instance, religious groups are gearing up to oppose vaccination, despite a survey showing 80 per cent of parents favour vaccinating their daughters. "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian lobby group that has made much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV.

"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex," Maher claims, though it is arguable how many young women have even heard of the virus.

Meanwhile in developing countries, where 80 per cent of deaths from cervical cancer occur, social taboos may be even more powerful. The head of the Indian Council of Medical Research, N. K. Ganguly, says it will take a big educational effort to convince parents. Vaccinating men could be the best way to prevent the spread of HPV among women.

HPV is extremely common. Half of all sexually active women between 18 and 22 in the US are infected. Most cases clear up, but sometimes infection persists and can cause cancer decades later.

Christians and other dingbats would prefer women die of cancer. These idiots need to be taken out and horsewhipped (via).

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