New York Times 25 Oct 2011
Boys and young men should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, or HPV, to protect against anal and throat cancers that can result from sexual activity, a federal advisory committee said Tuesday. The recommendation by the panel, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is likely to transform the use of the HPV vaccine, since most private insurers pay for vaccines once the committee recommends them for routine use.
…The vaccine has been controversial because the disease it prevents results from sexual activity, and that controversy is likely to intensify with the committee’s latest recommendation since many of the cancers in men result from homosexual sex. …Parents of boys face some uncomfortable realities when choosing whether to have their child vaccinated. The burden of disease in males results mostly from oral or anal sex, but vaccinating boys will also benefit female partners since cervical cancer in women results mostly from vaginal sex with infected males. …Vaccinating homosexual boys would be far more cost effective than vaccinating all boys, since the burden of disease is far higher in homosexuals. “But it’s not necessarily effective or perhaps even appropriate to be making those determinations at the 11- to 12-year-old age,” said Kristen R. Ehresmann of the Minnesota Department of Health and a committee member.
Family First Comment: We quote directly from the US-based Family Research Council
The public health case for boys to receive the vaccine is weaker than it is for girls. When a man contracts HPV, the result is usually genital warts (a much less serious symptom than cervical cancer), so it is questionable if the benefit is worth the cost (almost $400 for the three shots). The CDC is quick to point out that the vaccine also protects against anal, mouth, and throat cancer–but they downplay the fact that these cancers are almost entirely the result of men having homosexual sex!
Apart from the cost of the shots (upwards of $140 million a year), perhaps the most infuriating aspect of all this is the government’s insistence that we look for ways to minimize the impact of promiscuity instead of working to encourage the end of it. Rather than asking young people to change their behavior, society is scrambling to enable it. It’s like trying to address the problem of drunk driving by making better airbags. We can’t tackle long-term safety with short-term solutions. And unfortunately, tiptoeing around the fundamental problem–premarital sex and homosexual sex–shows how far off course we are.
Vaccinating against HPV, while important, won’t inoculate people from the other negative consequences of promiscuous sex–many of which are just as destructive. Some people have argued that it’s “ethical” for boys to be vaccinated to protect their future sexual partners, but the most ethical answer of all is focusing on abstinence, which is the only 100% effective way to prevent all of the dangerous side-effects of sex outside of marriage. Of course, we’re all told that it’s unrealistic to think young people can abstain. But it’s only unrealistic to the degree that we fail to challenge them to do so!