September 16, 2011


A dose of reality for the HPV debate (Michael Gerson, September 15, 2011, Washington Post)

If Republican presidential candidates want to debate sexual health and hygiene, it would be nice if they displayed more collective knowledge and judgment than your average eighth-grade family-life class. During the Tampa debate, a viewer longed for a blunt, part-time football coach -- or whomever they draft into teaching health classes nowadays -- to mount the stage and present the facts of life.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a nasty, sexually transmitted disease contracted by about three-quarters of Americans at some point. You can have it, and spread it, without knowing it. In some women, the virus causes abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix that can develop into cancerous lesions. Virtually all cervical cancer is caused by HPV. There is, however, a vaccine that is highly effective against the most dangerous HPV strains. The main side effect, as you'd expect in a procedure involving a needle, is fainting. The CenĀ­ters for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all girls should get it anyway.

Here's the simple reality: if HPV gave guys erectile dysfunction the vaccine would be universal.

Posted by at September 16, 2011 2:31 PM

blog comments powered by Disqus
« | Main | »