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.