Let's hear it for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, who today reccommended that girls as young as nine years old be immunized against HPV.
Health officials estimate that more than 50 percent of sexually active women and men will be infected with one or more types of HPV in their lifetimes. Vaccine proponents say it could dramatically reduce the nearly 4,000 cervical cancer deaths that occur each year in the United States.
I'm all for this. A friend of mine had a scare with HPV a few years ago. Luckily, what the doctors thought were tumors turned out to be fairly innocuous growths, but it was a scary series of biopsies she had to undergo. If a vaccine can prevent other young women from similar close calls, or, even worse, cancer, the government should reccommend that girls be vaccinated.
This is also encouraging:
Some health officials had girded themselves for arguments from religious conservatives and others that vaccinating youngsters against the sexually transmitted virus might make them more likely to have sex. But the controversy never materialized in the panel's public meetings.
Could maybe the abstinance-only folks be having a change of heart when faced with women with cancer? Because it's a staggering statistic that more than fifty percent of sexually active people have HPV. Yikes.