"They're Gonna Do It Anyway, So"...Version 2.0

I should have seen this one coming. I can at least say I'm not surprised. When someone says, "they're gonna do it anyway, so we better educate them and offer them condoms", it's only a matter of time before they say "they're gonna do it anyway, so lets inoculate them."

About two years ago, two pharmaceutical companies began competing to create a vaccine for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Gardasil, created by Merck Corporation, has now been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

In a clever campaign, if clever is the right word, Merck is essentially saying "They're gonna do it, so we need to give them the opportunity to be inoculated against HPV." Merck has recently had to buy a new bandwagon, because at one point 20 States proposed legislation that would require 11 and 12 year old girls to receive the vaccine, because "in order to be effective, it must be taken before girls become sexually active, and so should be given to pre-teens".

I am not of the opinion that "they're [all] gonna do it". In fact, I know a lot of people who haven't "done it" until they're married, and then they've only "done it" with their spouse. And I suspect that of those who have "done it" many have only "done it" because it has become the socially accepted norm and expectation in some circles.

So far, no one has forced every 11 and 12 year old to carry condoms around in their pockets in order to be "safe" when they live up to societal expectations. Merck and (at one point in time) 20 States want(ed) that dynamic to change.

Requiring the use of Gardasil would mean a big boost for Merck's bottom line. That one's easy to see. So it's not surprising that Merck's lobbying juggernaut has been in overdrive. After the writing appeared on the wall, though, Merck ended its promotional campaign in disgrace.

What's more difficult to see is why so many state governments place so little trust in their young women to be sexually mature. Not only that, the proposed legislation would be encouraging the cream of their crop to become sexually immature. Based partly on the Merck scandal, some states have withdrawn legislation. Let's hope they all do, but for a better reason than simple guilt by association.

Those who are gonna do it, for whatever reason, are certainly free do to so. And Gardasil should be made available to anyone who wants it. But people shouldn't be encouraged to be sexually immature (promiscuous) simply because someone got the harebrained idea that none of us can resist the urge. Forcing someone to become inoculated against a disease that is purely electively acquired is one of the greatest misuses of government I can think of.


  1. "Forcing someone to become
    inoculated against a disease
    that is purely electively
    acquired is one of the greatest
    misuses of government I can
    think of."

    All I have to say to that Frank, is 'Royer".
    That is absolutely ridiculous. I can't even believe that people think that is a remotely good idea. Lets make it available to everybody that wants it. But forcing it on people? Come on.

  2. 80 percent of women are infected with HPV, so your implication that its related to promiscuity is somewhat offensive. Only some strains of the virus cause cervical cancer, which is why most people don't get cervical cancer.

    One of my psychotherapy patients was diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells in her cervix and had to have surgery. Which was paid for by our tax dollars, since she was on Medicaid.

    I think a vaccination is a good idea.

  3. I didn't imply that it was related to promiscuity--Merck did by saying that girls should be vaccinated before they become sexually active.

    Also, I support education about HPV, but I hope that you don't support forcing women to be vaccinated.

  4. Elizabeth,

    The study to which you are probably referring showed that 95% of the participants were sexually active. Ages between 14-17. The median number of sexual partners was two.

    As you can see, this demographic is likely not abstinent, or monogomous, so yes, there is a link to promiscuity.

    I agree, with Frank, that this vaccination should not be legislated. Parents of children in this age group should decide.

  5. "The median number of sexual partners was two...yes, there is a link to promiscuity."

    Two sexual partners counts as promiscuity??

    Everyone gets vaccinated (or is supposed to get vaccinated) against measles, mumps, rubella, diptheria when they're children...why should HPV be any different?

    We stopped doing vaccinations for polio, and the result is that world polio rates have started rising again.

  6. Elizebeth,
    It seems that the arguement here is that HPV is something that is electively acquired. The measles, mumps, rubella, diptheria are not the same way; you can get those just by walking down the street. You cannot get HPV that way. You have to "do it."

  7. HPV isn't "electively" acquired.

    Even if a woman "saves herself" for marriage, she could still get HPV. Her husband may already have it from a previous sex partner. Or, he may be unfaithful during marriage, without her knowledge.

    A woman, or for that matter a 12-year-old girl, could get raped and get HPV that way. It's not uncommon.

    Sexually transmitted diseases are spread mostly by the promiscuity of men. Yet, it's women who suffer the worst consequences.

    It's interesting that that these judgmental remarks are coming from men who, of course, don't get cervical cancer.

  8. You make several good points. Men generally cause the problem, but women and children suffer. I know a 6-year old girl who got if from her mom, who got it from...you guessed it. So it's nice to have a preventative measure, and I am all for it.

    But as a general rule, HPV could be much less of a scourge, if people 'elected' to be sexually non-promiscuous.

  9. Elizabeth,

    As Frank said, you make a good point-men are generally the problem.
    So it is definitely a great idea to have the preventative measures available.
    But as stated in the original post, the government should have no place to force someone to become innoculated against it.


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