Gardasil for Back Door Sex? I'm Still Uncomfortable

Julie Ryan Evans

vaccinationGardasil, the controversial vaccine that’s touted to protect against the human papillomavirus (HPV), was recently approved to prevent anal cancer. Because, you know, the back door method and all ...

It’s already being used to prevent cancer in the standard lady parts (cervix, vulva, and vagina) and to stop vaginal warts for both men and women. So, the fact that Gardasil adds another cancer to its score card seems great on the surface, right?

But when you look closely at this vaccine and what it does, it leaves many questions as to whether it does more harm than good, and if promoting more of its powers is wise before safety concerns are quelled.

We all mourned the loss of Farrah Fawcett to the disease, and no one wants to see anyone suffer such a fate. Knowing that HPV causes about 90 percent of the cases of anal cancer and some simple shots could help wipe it out is pretty incredible.

The problem is that there are countless cases in which the vaccine is thought to be responsible for deaths and debilitating illnesses. A lot of it is more of the he-said, she-said controversy that surrounds the debate around autism and vaccines -- is it big pharmaceutical companies pushing their products at the expense of our health, or are a few people just scaring the rest of us?

In a press release, the SANEVax organization stated that as of January 15, there have been 21,171 adverse reactions and 91 deaths attributed to Gardasil reported. The Truth About Gardasil organization is countering Merck’s “One Less Girl to Get Cervical Cancer” campaign with a documentary titled One More Girl that depicts some of the horror stories believed to be a result of the disease, and the material is frightening.

“The HPV vaccine travesty will go down in history as an example of unethical experimental medical procedures harming the health and well being of the very people the vaccines were supposedly designed to protect,” states Leslie Carol Botha, media relations for One More Girl.

On the other side are people who tell you that’s an overreaction, and that it’s crazy not to do whatever we can to prevent something as deadly as cancer. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control have approved it, which is somewhat reassuring as well ... but only somewhat.

The disease is rare -- in 2010, there were about 5,300 cases and 700 deaths from anal cancer. And HPV can be prevented by safe sex. If you’re having unprotected sex, then HPV may be the least of your worries.

I won't subject myself or my children (it’s approved for ages 11-26) to an iffy vaccine to prevent a disease that carries a slight risk anyway -- and can be prevented in other ways, like making sure my kids DON'T HAVE SEX. Though my children are young -- perhaps as they get older and move into a more sexual arena, I’ll be more scared of that prospect than the shot. My hope is that by then, doctors will have worked out all these questions about the side effects, and case closed.

Have you gotten the Gardasil vaccine? Would you or will you encourage your children to get it?


Image via lu_lu/Flickr

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