HPV = human papillomavirus

Today the CDC expanded its recommendation for the HPV vaccine to boys and young men aged 11-21 years.

Here is my position:

  • HPV can cause cancer; HPV does not cause sex to happen. (If it did, it would be marketed very differently.)
  • Cancer can cause death, sex cannot. True, people can get diseases from sex (including HPV), and those diseases can cause death.  But transmission of those diseases can be minimized and prevented… by things like an HPV vaccine.
  • Therefore, If HPV can cause cancer, and if this can be prevented by a vaccine, then those at risk should get the vaccine if they want to avoid getting cancer.  Either that or guarantee that teenagers won’t have sex.  Good luck with that one.
Now, here are some details about HPV, what it is, and what it does.  This way I can count this as studying, kinda.
  • HPV = human papillomavirus
  • HPV refers to a group of over 100 non-enveloped DNA viruses that use skin and mucosal surfaces for replication
  • only some types (16, 18, 31, 33, 35) can cause cancer (i.e., have oncogenic potential)
  • there are two HPV vaccines: Gardasil protects against four types of virus (16, 18, 6, 11).  Cervarix protects against types 16 & 18 only.  16 & 18 cause about 70% of cervical cancers; 6 and 11 cause about 90% of genital warts.
  • more information can be found here:  http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/