HPV Transmission

Here is the Power Point slide indicated by tanglethis.

Nonsexual transmission of HPV does occur. I do not know what the portion of HPV is transmitted nonsexually. I think the great majority of HPV is transmitted sexually. But clearly the situation involving children with genital warts, which is always a very difficult situation, lends evidence to the concept that HPV can be nonsexually transmitted. We have one very small study to look at which is depicted on the slide. But what it shows is that in a small group of children in Seattle, 26 children with external genital warts after a full investigation, only 5 of those children were found to be sexually abused. And so again, this tells us that in the case of children with genital warts at least, nonsexual transmission appears to be rather common. In adults I think it is less common than sexual transmission, but again I think it still occurs. I do not think that HPV is like chlamydia or trichomoniasis, which are exclusively sexually transmitted.

Besides the fact that it’s full of “I think’s” and “I do not think’s,” I’ll grant the point that HPV could be transmitted non-sexually. I doubt tanglethis would appreciate a concession that the HPV vaccine should be available to those who do not get it sexually.

The larger point is this, as I wrote in my comments on the previous post–and I will try to be as clear as possible about my position: we love to do ethics in the margins. But if there are no ethical standards about the vast majority of our everyday experience, it’s pretty much garbage what anyone thinks about the “exceptions.” Exceptions to what? Oh, that’s right, I don’t have an ethical standard outside my own head, so I make up my “ethics” as I go. Fine. But don’t argue with me about exceptions unless you have a rule from which exceptions really are exceptions. What is the rule here? “We must protect all women from all diseases all the time”? Or is it, “We must protect sexually active children and adults from the consequences of their actions”?

Once again, I do not think this or any other vaccine or inoculation should be outlawed. The point is not that we should ignore the hypothetical (or even the not-so-hypothetical) women in the margins, but that you can’t do ethics for the exceptions unless you’ve got ethics for the rule. Thus, tanglethis and I will not ever agree on this issue, because we have different starting points and we’re working from different narrative structures.

Thanks for the conversation.


The Last Straw?

In a completely unforeseen development–sarcasm doesn’t translate well over blogs–the ELCA (Evangelical?Lutheran?Church? in America) voted not to discipline either congregations or church workers who continue to live in homosexual relationships. (You can read the substitute motion, which passed, here. Not sure how to find the rest of it.)

I love this part: the Assembly wants its leaders “to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those congregations and persons who call into the rostered ministry otherwise-qualified candidates….” First, I’m not sure what it means to “demonstrate restraint” in such a case, other than “not to do it.” Second, if they are “otherwise” qualified, they are not completely qualified. What sort of theological confusion is it (I realize there’s no shortage of that these days) that believes that people can separate the unrepentantly sinful part of themselves from the “otherwise-qualified” part? As if we were divisible into “homiletic ability,” “pastoral care,” and “sexuality”?

Nor does the Assembly want its leaders to discipline those who live “in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship who have been called and rostered in this
church.” The lack of a comma after “faithful” is confusing. Are they faithful(ly) committed? or is committed now a noun that is inseparable from “same-gender relationship”? As for “mutual” and “chaste,” I have no doubt about the first and every doubt about the second. I know this is hard to hear in our cultural setting, but not every sexual relationship, no matter how “mutual,” “faithful,” and “committed,” is chaste. Surely the ELCA has rendered itself impotent to oppose any sexual relationship that is mutual and faithful (whatever faithful could possibly be construed to mean in this context). Oh, you and your brother are mutually and faithfully committed to each other? Sure, we’ll marry you! Oh, you are in a mutual, faithful, committed relationship with your father’s ex-wife? Sure, we’ll marry you. (What do you mean, St. Paul condemned it? Who’s he?)

Is there anything else but pomp and ceremony that can still be removed from the ELCA? How will the remnant (i.e., the real faithful ones) act? Of course, if sharing pulpits and altars with those who deny our Lord’s bodily presence (for example, here) didn’t cause them any real heartburn, why should this? This is merely the harvest of forty years of doctrinal apostasy. But, if this is the last straw for you, get out now. It ain’t getting any better.


HPV Propaganda

My wife picked up a pamphlet (not sure where) that says on the front of it: “You’d tell her she has lipstick on her teeth. So why wouldn’t you tell her about a virus that can cause cancer?” In other words, be a friend, why don’t you, and tell your girlfriends that they can get cervical cancer from human papillomavirus (HPV).

The pamphlet full of scary stuff like:

Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of a common virus…Certain types of HPV can cause cervical cancer and abnormal cervical cells. Other types can cause genital warts. And because HPV often has no signs or symptoms, many people [!] don’t know they have it. …

It could happen to you…The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 80% of women will have had genital HPV by age 50…It’s estimated that many people get HPV within their first 2 to 3 years of becoming sexually active.

Oh, but wait, Merck [oh, yeah, didn’t I tell you who puts out the pamphlet?] has answers for you:

According to the CDC, the only way you can totally protect yourself against HPV is to avoid any sexual contact that involves genital contact. There are a few things you can do to decrease your chances:

  • Limit your sexual partners.
  • Stay in a long-term, exclusive relationship with someone who doesn’t have HPV.
  • Use a condom–though it’s unknown how much protection from HPV condoms actually provide.

The CDC knows what’s what, but we all know you’re going to have sex anyway (I think it’s a right guaranteed in the Constitution somewhere), so practice “safer” sex. “Limit” your sexual partners. (I’m wondering what the limit is. How’s five? Ten?) And don’t forget your rubber. (We don’t actually think it will do you any good, but the Condom Safety Dogma asserts that we must recommend it as often as possible.)

On the back of the pamphlet: “Cervical cancer is caused by a virus many people get in their teens and 20s. Find out more.” According to the pamphlet itself, cervical cancer is only caused by “high-risk” types of HPV. (For some reason, they insist on putting “high-risk” within quotation marks. Does that mean that they’re not really high-risk? “We just call them that because we don’t want to say ‘dangerous’ or ‘cancer-causing.'”) But all HPV types that “affect the genital area” are STDs.

That is, in order to get cancer-causing HPV, you must have had “sexual contact.” Condoms won’t help. And, apparently, you’re not going to be able to control teenage hormones. So Merck is here to help, with a vaccine that they aim to make mandatory. Just get your middle-schooler vaccinated with Merck’s vaccine against cervical cancer (which, remember, comes from a “common” STD) and everything will be great. Now they can sleep around with impunity and take even less responsibility for their actions. And you, the parent, can take less responsibility as well. Whew, got that STD vaccine taken care of; don’t have to worry anymore–especially with AIDS vaccines (it will come), the morning-after pill, and abortion to take care of any other unwanted diseases. Sex is just for fun. Let’s keep it that way.


What Do Christians Confess?

Just a question: if Christians get upset when “progressives” update the Creed to say things like “Mother-Father” “Jesus Christ, God’s only Child” and baptize people in the name of the “Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier” why don’t some of these same Christians take equally seriously the statement in the final part of the Nicene Creed that Christians “believe in one Baptism for the remission of sins.” If the progressives have given up an essential part of Christian doctrine, why have the anti-Sacramentalists not given up something at least as equally fundamental?

The “one, holy, Christian [catholic], and apostolic Church” that we confess is the same Church that confesses faith in “one Baptism for the remission of sins.” Have you not put yourself outside of your own Christian Faith if you deny it?