Does HPV vaccine promote promiscuity?

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ClairesMommy's picture
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Does HPV vaccine promote promiscuity?

HPV vaccine ban by Calgary bishop putting girls’ lives at risk, doctors say | News | National Post

Staring down the edict of a Calgary bishop who says the HPV vaccine contributes to promiscuity, a newly formed advocacy group is pushing Roman Catholic schools to allow students to be immunized against the sexually transmitted virus. Calgary is the only major city in Canada with a publicly funded school board that withholds the vaccine on religious grounds, the group says. This puts the thousands of girls in the city and southern Alberta at risk of cervical cancer.

The activists, who include ethicists and doctors, have formed HPV Calgary in an attempt to strong-arm the Calgary Catholic School District into allowing vaccinations in Grades 5 and 9 with other routine shots. After more than a year of correspondence with the school board, they went public Monday and are calling on trustees to discuss the issue by Saturday.

?In the letters from the physicians to the trustees, the word ?children? is used three times at least per letter. In the letters of response from the trustees they use the word ?bishop? three times per letter,? said Juliet Guichon, an assistant professor in community health sciences at the University of Calgary.

?They have delegated their decision making to a non-elected official without expertise in evidence-based medicine or public health.?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, called Gardasil, prevents the four strains of the sexually transmitted virus that most commonly lead to cervical cancer. Social conservatives oppose the vaccine, arguing it promotes promiscuity and implicitly condones premarital sex. In 2007, Ottawa provided a grant so that school-aged girls could be vaccinated for free; Alberta followed suit. But at least eight religious boards in the province still bar the vaccine from being administered on school grounds. Outside the province, only two school boards are believed to have taken such a stance.

Dr. Ian Mitchell, a professor of pediatrics and a bioethicist with the University of Calgary, said HPV Calgary tried to present the latest evidence supporting the vaccine to the board, with no success.

?If you are an immigrant, if you are not so affluent, if you don?t have a car, if you?re very dependent on an hourly wage, it is very unlikely that you?ll get immunization,? he said. ?So we saw this decision by the Catholic school board as affecting all children, but really affecting the most vulnerable children.?

The resistance can be traced to a 2008 edict from Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary and other Alberta bishops.
In addition to a letter from Alberta Health Services providing information about Gardasil and where to get vaccinated, Catholic school students were sent home with a letter from the six bishops advising parents to protect their children from ?counterproductive influences and potential abuse.?

?Although school-based immunization delivery systems generally result in high numbers of students completing immunization, a school-based approach to vaccination sends a message that early sexual intercourse is allowed, as long as one uses ?protection,? ? it said.

Not every school board agrees. After the Edmonton Catholic board allowed girls at its schools to be vaccinated, nearly 70% of them took up the offer. By comparison, the rate among girls in Calgary?s Catholic schools is 18.9%.
Federal health officials had once hoped as many as 90% of girls would be vaccinated. Results have so far been lacklustre: Ottawa has the highest rate, with 75% of eligible girls receiving the first of three doses during the 2010-11 school year.

Mary Martin, chairwoman of the Catholic board in Calgary, said students receive information about where they can get the vaccine outside school.

?The overarching concern or issue here is that anything we do within our Catholic schools have to be congruent with the teachings of our church,? she said. ?At the end of the day [we?re providing] a faith-based education that is in alignment with the direction of the Alberta bishops.?

Vaccination advocates said studies have found no correlation between the HPV vaccine and increased promiscuity.

?What we see anecdotally is that the children don?t jump into bed, they go out for recess. It?s hard to debate this because it?s not grounded in evidence or rationality,? Ms. Guichon said.

Further, it?s possible to contract HPV through sexual assault and abuse, she added.

Bolding is mine. Not necessarily targeting the RC Church because I think this belief is shared by a wider segment of the population. Do you think that the vaccine does or could directly lead to increased sexual activity at a younger age?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

While I do not think it should be required, I do not think it leads to promiscuousness. There are so many consequences to sex that lowering the risk of one is not going to change things. I don't know about you all but at 16 in the heat of the moment deciding if I was going to have sex or not, I was not thinking of cervical cancer. I was thinking of pregnancy mostly along with AIDS and other STDS. Taking away one risk factor is not going to make kids think nothing willl happen if they have sex.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

While I do not think it should be required, I do not think it leads to promiscuousness. There are so many consequences to sex that lowering the risk of one is not going to change things. I don't know about you all but at 16 in the heat of the moment deciding if I was going to have sex or not, I was not thinking of cervical cancer. I was thinking of pregnancy mostly along with AIDS and other STDS. Taking away one risk factor is not going to make kids think nothing willl happen if they have sex.

It's not required, just available as part of the routine vaxes offered for free at school. Parents can opt their daughter out of the HPV vax if they desire.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

While I do not think it should be required, I do not think it leads to promiscuousness. There are so many consequences to sex that lowering the risk of one is not going to change things. I don't know about you all but at 16 in the heat of the moment deciding if I was going to have sex or not, I was not thinking of cervical cancer. I was thinking of pregnancy mostly along with AIDS and other STDS. Taking away one risk factor is not going to make kids think nothing willl happen if they have sex.

I agree with this. It actually disgusts me that a religious organization would want to with hold preventative medicine to girls that could literally save their lives, because they want to keep the threat of cervical cancer hanging over girls' heads, should they consider becoming sexually active. Am I alone in thinking that is plain out vicious?

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I agree with this. It actually disgusts me that a religious organization would want to with hold preventative medicine to girls that could literally save their lives, because they want to keep the threat of cervical cancer hanging over girls' heads, should they consider becoming sexually active. Am I alone in thinking that is plain out vicious?

You are not alone. At first I thought it was very head-in-the-sand, but then I started thinking like you. Wow, this makes me so indignant. If the RC Church supports (albeit reluctantly) the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV, why would the protection of girls (who are going to likely engage in unprotected sex at some point in their lives) against another potentially deadly virus. And not just girls, boys too. I shake my head. I think it's pathetic.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
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I do not think it leads to promiscuity.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

While I do not think it should be required, I do not think it leads to promiscuousness. There are so many consequences to sex that lowering the risk of one is not going to change things. I don't know about you all but at 16 in the heat of the moment deciding if I was going to have sex or not, I was not thinking of cervical cancer. I was thinking of pregnancy mostly along with AIDS and other STDS. Taking away one risk factor is not going to make kids think nothing willl happen if they have sex.

I agree with this completely.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

I am not a fan of this vaccine, but not because I think it promotes promiscuity.

I do remember some of my more conservative family members saying that about the Hep B shot when it was first introduced and given in grade 6. I got the vax but my cousins didn't.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

What bothers me the most is that this one person, with no medical training or expertise, takes public funds and has the audacity to believe he knows what's best for the health of these girls.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

Do I think in promotes promiscuity? No

Do I think these Catholic schools should have the option of whether or not to offer it to students at school? Absolutely

It is a school, not a health clinic. It's strange none of my kids got any shots at school. No schools in this area give shots. If you want a shot go to a health clinic.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I was going to get on and say the same thing as Gloria, I think schools need to stay out of giving vaccines period. Schools here do not give vaccines, but if they were to to start I would be the first in line to step up and argue that health clinics are the place for vaccines not schools

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Do I think in promotes promiscuity? No

Do I think these Catholic schools should have the option of whether or not to offer it to students at school? Absolutely

It is a school, not a health clinic. It's strange none of my kids got any shots at school. No schools in this area give shots. If you want a shot go to a health clinic.

These were done in Canada. I'm assuming it's common since the other vaccines are done at school. Correct me if I'm wrong Canadian ladies.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

These were done in Canada. I'm assuming it's common since the other vaccines are done at school. Correct me if I'm wrong Canadian ladies.

Even if they give other vaccines at school I don't think this should be included as routine vaccination. Parents should be informed by their doctor or a health clinic the pros/cons of this vaccine before it is given. It is not the same as a measles shot.

ClairesMommy's picture
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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Even if they give other vaccines at school I don't think this should be included as routine vaccination. Parents should be informed by their doctor or a health clinic the pros/cons of this vaccine before it is given. It is not the same as a measles shot.

Of course they are. Even the Catholic school board send literature re HPV vax home to parents. HPV is not a routine vax, but is offered free of charge when students receive their other routine vaxes at the school clinics. Since the cost of Gardasil is prohibitive to many families without prescription coverage, I think it is awesome that it's free at school, IF the parents want their child vaxed. But then, we're talking about Canada's social system and the Canadian taxpayer's dollar going to fund these free vaccines, which I know full well you do not agree with.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"Jessica80" wrote:

These were done in Canada. I'm assuming it's common since the other vaccines are done at school. Correct me if I'm wrong Canadian ladies.

You are mostly right. All Canadian students must have up-to-date routine vaccinations. Our vax schedule recommends shots at age 10 and then again at age 15, so the HPV vax is a freebie offered along with those routine vaxes if the parents want their daughter to have it. Many children still get their routine vaccines outside of school, but I would assume that parents who want the vax for their daughter would obviously have it done at school where there's no charge.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
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"mom3girls" wrote:

I was going to get on and say the same thing as Gloria, I think schools need to stay out of giving vaccines period. Schools here do not give vaccines, but if they were to to start I would be the first in line to step up and argue that health clinics are the place for vaccines not schools

Why? I get my flu shot at work. And it's not like the lunchroom lady or janitor is administering the shots with a used needle. It's by an RN under completely sanitary and sterile conditions. I would argue that health clinics are probably a worse place to have them done.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Even if they give other vaccines at school I don't think this should be included as routine vaccination. Parents should be informed by their doctor or a health clinic the pros/cons of this vaccine before it is given. It is not the same as a measles shot.

Why is it different from a measles shot? Because some people believe that cancer should be dangled over a girl's head as a consequence of unprotected sex?

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I don't get why any vaccine is of concern because of WHERE it is done. Should only be a concern about WHO is doing it. I've gone to Minute Clinics to get a flu shot. Those stands at Walmart are staffed by medical professionals. Why would it be different at school? It's not like they are forcing you to get the vaccines at school. It's just offered there.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

I agree it doesn't matter where it is done.

In Canada, we get a permission slip and information about the vax ahead of when the nurse comes to the school. Parents can decide whether or not their child gets the vax.

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3214

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Even if they give other vaccines at school I don't think this should be included as routine vaccination. Parents should be informed by their doctor or a health clinic the pros/cons of this vaccine before it is given. It is not the same as a measles shot.

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Why is it different from a measles shot? Because some people believe that cancer should be dangled over a girl's head as a consequence of unprotected sex?

My personal concerns / questions are more centered on safety. I know that Merck & Co. has tremendously deep pockets and I am leery of when a drug is "fast-tracked" and then pushed for more uses (now being marketed to boys.) I know that I need to take time to research more -- and trust that I'm equally skeptical of the naysayers. Our own pediatrician was remaining somewhat cautious the last time we discussed. I'll have to tap their team again next time we're in.

I know most of you have read the CDC's (or Canadian equivalent) regarding safety along with numerous other "pro-vaccine" reports. Here are some representing another side:

The Truth About Gardisil (appears to have been last updated June, 2012)

CDC Report Stirs Controversy For Merck's Gardasil Vaccine (Source: ABC News -- Two things that struck me in my previous research that are pointed out in this article was that this does not prevent all types of HPV and that the importance of annual pap smears for early detection is key to treatment of cervical cancer. Additionally, many girls receive this series at the ages of 9-12. The findings show this vaccine is effective for 5 - 7 years. While some of these may be sexually active within that time frame, most would likely be after age 14 - 19 -- thus they may believe they are protected when they very well may not be?)

Is Gardisil Safe for Young Girls? (Souce: ABC News / Good Morning America)

Risks vs. Benefits of HPV Vaccine: Dr. Tim Johnson Weighs In (I did a quick search to see if this physician has backed off of his statement below but could not find any.):

From ABC News' Chief Medical Editor Dr. Timothy Johnson:

Today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) contains two articles ? and an excellent editorial ? addressing the question of whether the benefits of the Gardasil vaccine outweigh its risks. The vaccine is designed to prevent infection by two strains of the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus); these strains are said to account for about 70% of cervical cancer cases. The vaccine is now recommended for 11-12 year old girls before they become sexually active. For the first time in my career, I cannot recommend a vaccine for its intended population ? in this case, young girls. Therefore I am going to say that any parent considering this vaccine for their daughter should read the editorial in JAMA and then talk to their doctor before deciding.

The Risks and Benefits of HPV Vaccination (The Journal of the American Medical Association / JAMA -- editorial):

"The theory behind the vaccine is sound: If HPV infection can be prevented, cancer will not occur. But in practice, the issue is more complex. First, there are more than 100 different types of HPV and at least 15 of them are oncogenic. The current vaccines target only 2 oncongenic strains: HPV-16 and HPV-18. Second, the relationship between infection at a young age and development of cancer 20 to 40 years later is not known. HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection, with an estimated 79% infection rate over a lifetime. The virus does not appear to be very harmful because almost all HPV infections are cleared by the immune system. In a few women, infection persists and some women may develop precancerous cervical lesions and eventually cervical cancer. It is currently impossible to predict in which women this will occur and why. Likewise, it is impossible to predict exactly what effect vaccination of young girls and women will have on the incidence of cervical cancer 20 to 40 years from now. The true effect of the vaccine can be determined only through clinical trials and long-term follow-up."

HPV vaccines: Gardasil becomes a market dud in wake of informed backlash (Source: June 2012 -- NaturalNews.com -- I am unfamiliar with this website, but did find that they did cite their sources. I just do not have time to research these fully right now. At last check, I thought Merck stock was going up due to the additional expected sales from now also targeting boys.)

'Serious lapses' in HPV vaccine trial (Source: May 2011, The Tribune (India)

and finally these two conflicting articles surrounding the death of a young girl in New Zealand:

No issues with teen's Gardasil, says MedSafe

Gardasil HPV DNA discovered in post mortem samples (This disputes that the speculation mentioned within the previous article of a potential heart problem by stating "full autopsy analysis had ruled out all known causes of death". No idea which is true. )

For the record, I have not reached a final conclusion yet and will take time to further research both sides. I just found those listed above at least enough to give me pause and the belief that it was something that I needed to look into further to fully understand (to the best of my ability) the risks / benefits.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Missy, I can understand having reservations about the safety of any medical treatment until it has been further researched, but the article says they are with holding it for religious reasons, which I think is a different thing.