I'd been meaning to rant about this for a while. DarkSyde at Daily Kos did it better than I ever could have anyway.
"Eighty-percent of America's little girls will end up infected with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Most will never exhibit symptoms, a bunch will chase the virus out of their bodies without ever knowing they have it. But for many it will remain, semi-dormant, and they can pass it on. The same is true for males.
Millions of them will develop a distinctive wart as a result of infection, easily diagnosed and treated. The most common sites of HPV warts include the genitals, hands, face, feet, and sometimes even the mouth or throat.
The Human Papilloma Virus is spread by contact. You can get it from someone else's hands or fingers, or from your own. It can be picked up from public facilities or by sharing clothes, by kissing, or from sexual contact. However you acquire the little bugger, once it's on your skin, its goal is to get deeper into the tissue, take over the molecular machinery of a host cell, and start making more viruses. Often the virus disrupts a key gene during this process, and if that gene happens to be a control gene which initiates or inhibits some portion of cellular division in the host cell, uncontrolled replication may follow. A little knot of cells will thus grow and grow, usually becoming visible eventually as a small bump with a cauliflower surface. And you have your wart.
But the disruption process is randomized, dependent on local chemistry within the nucleus of the host cells. And as the number of cells increases, more and more combinations of disruption occur. The probability that one of those cells crosses the threshold from benign to malignant goes up. And the end result, especially among certain types of cells, can be a cancerous tumor.
Cells in the lining of the cervix, throat, vulva, and other locations are particularly vulnerable to some of the most common strains of HPV. In fact, Cervical Cancer is believed to be caused almost exclusively by two strains of HPV. In addition this virus is strongly suspected as a common precursor in a number of other types of cancer.
Oddly enough, the link between cervical cancer and HPV is in a sense, good news. Because vaccines can be developed for viruses, cervical cancer comes with the potential of virtual elimination (Too bad all cancers don't work that way). And sure enough, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. recently developed a new vaccine for four strains of HPV, several of which are known to be associated with cervical and other cancers. Clinical trials indicate the vaccine is, get this, One-hundred Percent effective in preventing cervical malignancies! As a side benefit it also provides enormous protection against common types of warts which are both unattractive and trigger a false positive on PAP smears.
Results like that are breathtaking, eh? A real cure for cancer, at least one kind anyway, that works every time. Rarely in life or in science is anything one-hundred percent. And what it means is we can now give every little girl (And little boy for that matter) something never before available with a few shots in the arm: Near total protection from nasty warts along and one of the greatest cancer killers of all time, if administered early in life, before they're exposed to HPV.
Except there's a catch, here in the US anyway: The Neo-Christian Right (NCR) is opposed:
[Link] In the US, for instance, religious groups are gearing up to oppose vaccination, despite a survey showing 80 per cent of parents favor vaccinating their daughters. "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian lobby group that has made much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV.
'Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence [sp?] to engage in premarital sex," Maher claims.'"
The author goes on to put this little tidbit in the context of a greater rant against the resurgence of the theocratic right. Worth reading the whole thing. Although it's true, as you'll read there, that one could pick any number of issues to highlight to demonstrate the evil assitude of these malevolent fucktards (choice, anti-gay bigotry, censorship, on and on), this one, well, this one really is something. Try not to get too upset as you read the anecdote of the twenty-five-year-old woman who fought recurring and ever more godawfully painful recurrences of cervical cancer, until it killed her. Restrain yourself from tracking down the nearest Family Research Council representative or similar godbag and saying and doing...things that one ought to restrain oneself from saying and doing. Or, you know, not.
Evil pustulent planaria cumstains. Burn in hell.