With the spread of misinformation, religious fear-mongering, and religious outrage; the facts of HPV are buried beneath propaganda, religion-imposed labels of “immorality”, and outright lies and dismissal of the serious need for a vaccine that is functional and effective. Drawing upon religious “morality”, the vaccine Gardasil is being heralded as “permission for premarital sex” without proper education to what HPV is or its dangers to the bodies of young people everywhere. Ignorance manufactured by misunderstanding the human being’s nature to be sexually active and the basic nature that becomes embroiled in debate is splattered all across extremist and conservative “news” outlets in an attempt to demonize nature over abstinence, a practice proven as dysfunctional and irresponsible toward the pubescent teenagers discovering sexual intercourse. My goal is to lay waste to the misinformation and propagandized lies about HPV, Gardasil, and the young people it targets in direct relationship with you.

HPV, human papillomavirus, is established productive infections of the skin cells (keratinocytes, which make up 95% of outer skin/epidermic layers) or mucus membranes. There are two hundred known types of HPV and the majority of them do not cause symptoms, while thirty to forty of them are sexually transmitted and can cause warts of the genitals. The ones that do not cause warts infect the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus of women and the penis and anus of men. They can also infect the tongue, tonsils and throat, cancers affecting these areas are called “head and neck cancer”. Most HPV types in females are gone after one or two years, though some more persistent infections can lead to precancerous legions of the cervix. These cases are 5% to 10% of the women infected with HPV. The process of development of invasive cervical cancer is fifteen to twenty years. The screening process and early treatment of cervical cancer prevents a lot of cases from developing into invasive cancer, but when it does not, surgical treatments for that cancer can result in the loss of fertility. It is important for women to have a Papanicolaou or “Pap” smear done to screen for cancer so that early treatment can be applied. Early treatment consists of “freezing” cancerous cells and scraping them off of by a cauterizing loop which is the use of a metal loop energized with enough electricity that it burns away cancerous cells four to five millimeters around the lesion and sometimes going as deep as eight millimeters. Sometimes both procedures can cause incompetence, which is weakness of the cervix during pregnancy and causing preterm delivery. Loop procedures are low cost and have a great success rate, incompetence is not a typical effect for the procedure. Prevention for HPV is latex condom without weaknesses that may allow infection to pass through.

Gardasil and Cervarix are vaccines that can prevent cervical cancer. Gardasil targets the HPV 6 and HPV 11 strains of the virus that cause 90% of the genital warts. HPV 16 and HPV 18 which together cause 70% of cervical cancers, protects against anal, vulvar, vaginal, penile, head and neck cancers and HPV induced oral cancer. Gardasil can be administered to females and males aged 9-26. Ceravix targets HPV 6, HPV 11, HPV 16, HPV 18, though studies involving HPV 31, 33, and 45 suggest that the vaccine works against these other common cancer causing strains. Cervarix can be administered to females and males aged 10-25. Cervarix lasts 6.4 years while Gardasil only has data extending 5 years for females and 2-3 years for males. While some doctors hail Cervarix as the better vaccination, Gardasil is not discounted as being an effective vaccine. Both are available in the United States for consumer use.

HPV strains that cause cancer are passed via sexual contact. For many religious extremists and conservatives, administering the vaccines on young girls and women encourages premarital sexual intercourse and promiscuity. They hawk abstinence as an effective means of birth control as well as a protection against any sexually transmitted disease or STD. This manner of education neglects sexually responsible instruction, such has the proper way to use a condom or asking a sexual partner to get tested before sexual contact takes place. It teaches that one can only experience sexual intercourse after marriage, which implies a type of ignorance to combat natural sexual urges that occurs in pubescent children, teens, and young adults that can project a healthy view and sexual experience regardless of orientation and appetite. According to their view, sexual urges and sexual intercourse attraction is to be ignored in favor of preserving one for marriage, instilling a sort of purity about virginity that sheds an unhealthy light on sexual activity of any sort (especially condemning masturbation, a natural urge of sexual gratification that also teaches one what feels good and what does not).

Sexual intercourse is labeled as “filthy” and “sinful” especially if one caters to “lust”, misinterpreting sexual attraction as “sinful”. The fact that one enters a relationship religiously dictated, the use of a condom is still considered “wrong” because not only does it prevent STDs but it also prevents pregnancy. Religious dogma surrounding one’s intellectually formed choice to have children when prepared is counterproductive to the survival of the religion. More followers birthed into faith is the goal of the church, abstinence when married for some conservative or extremist denominations is akin to birth control which is viewed as “sinful”. The immorality of sexual appetite, sexual contact, and sexual intercourse is dogmatically controlled by the faithful. The “be fruitful and multiply” aspect of dogmatic principals is sited for reasons not to apply birth control.

Outside of dogmatic “filthy” opines toward sexual gratification, sexual urges, sexual attraction and sexual intercourse is the reality that some birth control methods can be expensive or are unavailable in areas where there is a need for them. Public outcries by the religious indoctrinated mouthpieces against condom use taught to people who would benefit greatly from them is irresponsible, neglecting that use of condoms prevents AIDS in areas where it is prolific, often because of inappropriate designation of AIDS as a homosexual disease. The dispensation of condoms to the public has been criticized as permissive to abhorrent behavior when it should be reflected as responsible behavior. Even the Pope, in his grand announcement, decried the use of condoms in Africa going as far as to condemn their use in favor of abstinence. In report after report, abstinence education fails to work and along with the public need for free condoms being denied to them causes more diseases and cancers to run rampant.

Abstinence teaching and practice does not work because it calls for overriding the nature of human beings to be sexual creatures, as well as overriding the primal desire for humans to perpetuate via sexual intercourse and thus “survive”. To expect one to be ignorant of the natural needs of the body in favor of unnecessary “purity” outdated by centuries of progressive moralistic values, is like asking someone to stop breathing. Sexual activity and intercourse are natural wants and needs of a human being and are healthy to have without oppression applied by religious stigmatic labels such as promiscuity. Safe sex while enjoying multiple sexual partners is a healthy and responsible way to be a conscientious lover. The obsolete moralistic designation by religion progresses regressive attitudes involving the pleasure of sex, the act of sex, and sexual health. A generation of Texans, being taught abstinence and not progressive, modern sexual health, have found themselves pregnant in their teens. Texas has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the US, yet the Governor heralds “abstinence education works” when clearly it is not.

A responsible thing to do is vaccinate your sons and daughters against HPV strains as it is a viable means to prevent duplication of cancers and infections. It presents to your offspring a responsible attitude toward sex by protecting from disease and preventing any suffering. The myth that the vaccines encourage teens to engage in sex is ridiculously championed by those in our society that value Bronze Age morality over common sense directed morality that is reasonable and responsible for the survivability of the species. The myth machine of religion struggles to maintain manipulation techniques that are masked as covert influence when in fact they are misinformed, supportive of outright lies,and preventive of independence from dogmatic principles that fetter free thinking attitudes and modern morality.

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