The promiscuity vaccine.

Promiscuity drug. Really?


Ask most Australian parents what it is and they would call it the wonder vaccine. Gardisil: the drug that in up to 90 per cent of cases will prevent their daughters from developing cervical cancer.

But ask an American parent and you’ll get an entirely different response. Because over in the land of the free and the brave – and thanks to the conservative right – Gardisil is becoming increasingly known as the ‘promiscuity vaccine’.

Some political groups are actively campaigning against the vaccine – on MORAL grounds.

Gardisil protects against the human papillomaviruses (HPV) – the sexually transmitted virus that causes genital warts that can also lead to cervical cancer – and since 2007 the Australian Government has been providing it (for free) to teenage girls while they’re at school. This year they extended access to the vaccination to boys as well as boys can not only transmit the virus to girls, it can cause cancers in them including anal, throat and mouth cancers.

The idea is that these 12 and 13-year-olds receive the immunisation well before they begin sexual activity: because that’s when the drug will be most effective.

The vaccine has been a phenomenal success since it was first introduced in Australia. The take up rates of Gardisil have been high. More than 70 per cent of young people have been vaccinated and recent figures have revealed a “93 per cent decline in genital warts in women under 21 and a 73 per cent decline in women aged 21 to 30″.

And why wouldn’t the take up rates be high? This wonder drug means that fewer Australian girls and women will suffer from fertility issues, fewer will develop cervical cancer and fewer will die of the disease.

And that’s why it’s so shocking to learn that so many parents in the United States are preventing their daughter from being vaccinated.


Their reasons? A widespread community attitude that giving young people the vaccine will promote promiscuity and encourage them to engage in pre-marital sex. The theory goes that if young women are given the vaccine, they’ll be more casual about having unprotected sex (based on the idea that young women will incorrectly assume the drug will prevent pregnancy and STIs).

This from The Guardian:

Various political organizations have advocated against the HPV vaccine, arguing that the vaccine sends the message that sexual behavior is acceptable, and that if girls know they’re protected from HPV, they will be less vigilant about avoiding the kinds of risky sexual behaviors that can lead to pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Attempts to require the HPV vaccine were met with extreme backlash from conservative groups who argue that mandating the vaccine is an assault on parental rights and family values. (And one Republican candidate for president even claimed, with no evidence, that the vaccine caused mental retardation.)

Even bills that simply would have made the vaccine free for low-income children without mandating it were vetoed by Republican governors.

The take up rates for the HPV vaccine in the United States are low. Very low. Thirty four per cent kind of low.

When you look at those figures next to Australia’s (which average between around 64 per cent and 79 per cent depending on the state), it’s obvious that concerns about promiscuity have managed to override an alarming statistic: that cervical cancer is the most common cancer for women.

But fortunately for American families – who may or may not have been put off having their kids vaccinated by the noisy hocus-pocus pedaling typed from the conservative right –  a recently released study has exposed all of those myths about promiscuity for what they are: total bollocks.

The study found the HPV vaccine does not (did you hear that? DOES NOT) encourage sexual activity in young girls. CNN reports:

The study finds that vaccinating children at ages 11 and 12 does not increase sexual activity in young girls.

“Our study found a very similar rate of testing, diagnosis and counseling among girls who received the vaccine and girls who did not,” said Dr. Robert Bednarczyk, an epidemiologist at Emory and the study’s lead author. “We saw no increase in pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections or birth control counseling – all of which suggest the HPV vaccine does not have an impact on increased sexual activity.”

HURRAH! Evidence! Evidence that this vaccine which protects young girls against cervical cancer won’t turn them into raging, careless sex addicts. Evidence! Evidence to back up our outrage. Evidence! Evidence that could save lives.

Have you had the Gardidil vaccine? Have your kids? What’s been your experience? If you have kids one day will you agree to this type of vaccination?

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