Monday, March 10, 2008

de-valuing young women - part 2

OK, I thought I was done...but I'm not. So if you don't want to hear any more, just skip this post.

I've been looking into this a bit more, and even on the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) website, this is listed at the bottom of the "HPV Vaccine Question and Answers" page!

Are there other ways to prevent HPV?
The only sure way to prevent HPV is to abstain from all sexual activity. Sexually active adults can reduce their risk by being in a mutually faithful relationship with someone who has had no other or few sex partners, or by limiting their number of sex partners. But even persons with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV, if their partner has had previous partners.
On a more rational note, let me say that I am aware of the state of the world we live in, and I am all for education on this subject. The fact is, there is a disease, and as the above quote states, it is possible to end up in a situation where you are about to commit to someone for life who has already been down a road and now has this issue. I would then advocate going and getting the vaccine. It's not that I'm against medical progress, or that I think people should be damned forever for their past actions. I just think it is a shame that we, in the name of prevention, and even guised as education, withhold the very vital information that this could all be, at least for the most part, avoided.

The other thing I plan on watching closely is that there are currently bills being introduced to make this vaccine mandatory for girls entering 6th grade! (Although, apparently not yet for Pennsylvania, where I live). I know there is a lot of swirl around the topic of vaccines in general, but in my opinion, this would just be taking things too far. In most, if not all, cases there is a parental 'opt out', but my concern and question is - if we are planning on spending that much $$$ on something considered 'preventative', why not spend that much on abstinence education and affect not only this disease, but many more in the process?

There is much more that needs to be known about this vaccine, including the fact that not enough follow up information has even been gathered to know if it is even safe long-term for young girls. I would just beg anyone who faces whether or not to have their daughter vaccinated to please do your research, know the facts, don't make choices out of fear. I want to encourage parents that you have been entrusted with your children, and you have the awesome opportunity - and responsibility - to do what is best for them. I would dare to say that you, not the government, the pharmaceutical companies or even the 'experts', place the greatest value on your you daughters. Please consider wisely, and prayerfully, what the best truly is. Then go after the best for your precious gifts - your beautiful girls - with all you've got!

Here are 2 links that both contained interesting information. Neither is directly for or against the vaccine, but rather provide information, of which you will need to draw your own conclusions. There are several other sites I looked at, and if you are interested can direct you to some more links.

On a final note, I think this will be a topic I plan to bring up and address with my almost-12-year-old. She's not been overly curious about sexually related topics (other than knowing basic biology), but neither do I want to put my head in the sand on things and just hope for the best. If there's a chance a topic is going to come up in peer discussion, I want to have had first shot at it, and give her the advantage of having the truth on matters.

Wow, parenting is intense!


Laura said...

I agree we would do good to teach abstinence instead of pushing medicine...
However, when this gets brought up people say that abstinence only education does nothing to stop kids from having sex. Now I don't know if that is true, but if it is it gives serious ammunition to people who say that we can expect kids to abstain.

Anonymous said...

Abstinence is the best choice, of course. It is perfectly reasonable to teach it as a preventative measure for health reasons although I doubt it would be seen as such. The tough sell would be to all the mothers who deal with the HPV disease and don't want their daughters to have to deal with it. I'm sure they see the shot as a breakthrough to assuring their daughters a chance not to have to deal with the virus. Denise

Jessi said...

You are both right, and, of course the real issue is that many parents really don't view abstinence as important. My frustration with our system is that it seems like we are withholding the value and potential life-saving information that if people aren't sexually active they can really save themselves so much trouble.

The irony is that if anything else had such bad health risks, we'd be campaigning and suing and all kinds of things to try and get out the info that the behavior was harmful. I mean, drugs make you feel good...we could take the same attitude about that that we do sex...and yet schools have no problem adopting "drug free zone" initiatives.

The general state of things in this realm is just highly frustrating to me at the moment!

Aunt Linda said...

If health concerns/fears were enough to stop sex outside of marriage, the AIDS/HIV epidemic would have done it. It hasn't. Young people think they are invincible..."it won't happen to me". Our society has made it all ok to avoid abstinence, and now there is a pharmaceutical company getting rich from providing this HPV vaccine. What a tough road for parents who try to teach abstinence til marriage. God bless you in your efforts!