sinslaidbare's Diaryland Diary


Do vaccinations really make women slutty? The Gardasil debate.

Zoe says: Have you all heard of the new vaccine for the tween crowd?

This vaccine, called Gardasil, is specially designed to guard against certain strains of HPV. In case you've been living under a rock for the past year, HPV has been linked to cervical cancer, which kills about 4000 American women annually. HPV itself is present in about 20 million Americans, and is the most common sexually tramsmitted infection. According to the Gardasil website (, 80% of women will have acquired some form of HPV by age 50. That's pretty scary, when you think about it.

Apparently, this vaccination should be given to the preteen girls, as it is prevention, not a cure. To target children before they have sex will have the greatest effect in reducing the amount of HPV infection. This is really straightforward stuff, and is common to all vaccinations. You just can't vaccinate after the fact. Period.

Of course, vaccinations work best when everyone is vaccinated against a certain infection. Polio is great example of this. The worst outbreak of polio in America occurred in 1952, when 58 000 cases were reported. Of this 58 000, over 3000 died, and an additional 21 000 were left with some level of paralysis. A vaccine was developed in 1954 by Jonas Salk, and a widespread campaign started to vaccinate all children against polio. Currently, polio has all but been eradicated in the United States, and it is credited to the aggressive vaccination efforts.

That's all fine and good, but what does it have to do with the vaccine for cervical cancer?

Well, it gets a little fuzzy here. The science of it all is not in question, really, but the morality of it is. There are those who feel that our sisters, daughters, and selves should not get this vaccine, as it apparently sends a message that sex is now ... gasp with me, ladies!....okay.

This argument is nothing new: syphilis was regarded as a disease that should not be treated with antibiotics, as it would just encourage people to have sex.

The idea that medical care should be withheld from people in need is appalling. By the same reasoning, should ER doctors be allowed to refuse to treat drunk drivers who get into wrecks? Should oncologists only treat lung cancer in non-smokers?

Everyone... and I do mean EVERYONE.. does things that might not be the best thing for his or her health. Think back, I bet you have a few things that put you in harm's way. I know that I have more than a few. Should we be judged on our morals (or stupidity) before we are allowed to receive treatment? Are those of us who follow certain moral codes medically worthier than those of us who do not?

I also don't see how such a broad brushstroke can be applied to all women. Perhaps it will save women with questionable morals from what some see as a "natural" punishment for their promiscuity. On the other hand, it might also save rape victims from contracting this disease. Perhaps it will save a woman whose partner is unfaithful, unbeknownst to her.

As for "giving the idea that sex is okay", it's always been something that people have done. I think that the number of people on the planet says something about sex's popularity, don't you? To suggest otherwise is not only extremely narrowminded, it's also incredibly foolish.

I'm insulted that my intelligence is thought to be so low that I will just run out and fuck the first guy I see after I get a shot in my arm. Quite honestly, it's no more likely to make me have sex than a tetanus shot is going to make me run out and dance barefoot on rusty pieces of metal. I don't know of any person who has decided to have sex simply because condoms are available in a drugstore, and I certainly don't think that this vaccine is any more permission-giving than the rest of the safer sex resources out there.

For me, it will all come down to one simple question: Would I let a 30 year old woman die of a preventable cancer because she may have made a bad choice as a 16 year old? For me, the answer is, and always will be, a strong, unequivocal NO.

So, what do you think? Do you think that this vaccine tells teenage girls that unprotected sex is okay? Would you have changed your sexual habits had this vaccine been available when you were 11? If you had a daughter, would you vaccinate her?

Sound off in our comments!

3:37 p.m. - 2006-11-03


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