Friday, June 09, 2006

War...

News that the FDA has approved the first vaccine for HPV, a sexually transmitted virus linked to some cervical cancers, is cause for celebration and bitchitude.

Let’s jump right on in…

A long while ago some asshole decided to comment rather dismissively on one of my posts because a bitch had the audacity to term the current abstinence only non-sexual sex education push as a deliberate war on women.

This bitch is on record…if it walks like it and talks like it call it what it is.

However, a bitch will allow that some clarity is due.

The current social conservative effort to keep the new HPV vaccine from being required for all school age girls and young women is an act of aggression in the war against America's founding beliefs...a war in which poor and/or minority women being used as human shields during battle.

This may be a war that is unfolding much like World War I, with unfortunate alliances and strategic mistakes resulting in massive loss of life and global devastation…but it is a war nonetheless.

The new HPV vaccine offers the prevention of cervical cancers cause by the HPV virus. The vaccine will save women’s lives. Requiring it as part of the overall required protocol for attendance to school…y’all remember all those fucking shots, right…would force the rather expensive shot to be offered through Medicaid. Poor women would then be able to get the shot.

Now treating cancer costs money, so no one in their right mind can argue that preventing the percent of cervical cancer cases that result from HPV infections violates the code of the fiscal conservative. Shit, they should be all over it!

But the social conservative…now that is another story. The social conservative, having long been allied with the no sex in the classroom except to discuss not having sex argument, went into reflex mode on the HPV vaccine. They took to the airwaves to preach that this vaccine simply should not be given to 10 and 11 year old young women because it would create a false sense of sexual freedom. Lawd, they cried, it would encourage sex before marriage.

Yes, that is bullshit…but it also a curious glimpse into the future should we continue to bend to the will of social conservatism.

Take my hand and walk with me down the path of doom and flawed theory…

Should one of the HIV vaccines reach FDA approval, do we not approve it for pre-teens…because it would probably be more affective before sexual activity too…because it might create a false sense of security?

Woops…watch yourself, now…you took a stumble on the path!

Did something scare you?

Sorry, a bitch should have warned you about the ghosts of precedents past and how they have a habit of reappearing in our future.

How about…hmmm…oh, all the other sexually transmitted diseases? If we wake up tomorrow and all sexually transmitted diseases are suddenly and blessedly preventable through vaccination…will social conservatives fight against those vaccines too because the ability to fuck and not die/be made ill/risk your reproductive future threatens marriage?

This, my brothers and sisters, is the unspoken battle cry of the social conservative. Death, pain and illness are their weapons and they seek to defend marriage between one man and one woman and thus fortify their theocratic stronghold.

So, the next time someone questions why this bitch is knee deep in the marriage battle even though my happy ass has not intention of ever getting hitched this is my answer…

We are at war with a movement prepared to see us die rather than live outside of their strict moral code.

And 'traditional marriage' is a front for theocratic control over our bodies, minds and lives.

If it walks like it and talks like it call it what it fucking is...

War.

35 comments:

Farmer Tracy said...

Hi,

I agree that the conservative urge to prevent young women from getting this vaccine because it will encourage them to have sex is racist, classist,sexist, and ageist.

However, does it concern you that requiring young women to get a vaccine without giving them any choice in the matter is problematic? We are vaccinated to the gills right now and there's all sorts of research (however squelched) linking vaccines to autism and other health problems. What drug company is going to make a killing from vaccinating the hell out of young poor women? It smacks to me like a HUGE subsidy to the pharmaceutical industry (not exactly an ally of young women of color), and I don't really see how that empowers young women in their health care choices.

Regina said...

"Should one of the HIV vaccines reach FDA approval, do we not approve it for pre-teens…because it would probably be more affective before sexual activity too…because it might create a false sense of security?"

Would you believe they have gone on record already opposing a possible future HIV vaccine on exactly those grounds? Dr. Reginald Finger, a former medical advisor to Focus on the Family, who is now sitting on the CDC's immunization committee, has been quoted as saying that "disinhibition would certainly be a factor, and it is something we will have to pay attention to with a great deal of care", regarding possible HIV vaccines.

Anonymous said...

At 10-11 years old I got a Hep B vaccination, and now it is required for all children. It neither turned me into a pre-adolescent sex fiend nor an IV drug user. And I can't remember everyone being as up in arms about it then (1992) as they seem to be now.

The only difference I can really see between the Hep B and the HPV immunizations is that this one is specifically targeted to women. Hep B will cost you boatloads in medical expenses, is spread by the same transmission methods (mostly), and will kill you just as dead as cervical cancer. But cervical cancer only gets women.

I am no "Feminazi" but I am reaching the point where I want to denounce every bloody one of the conservatives as misogynists. I am so f***ing tired of being told what I can, can't, should, or shouldn't do with my body and having my health put at risk so some faction can make a political point.

The conservative right just needs to back the fuck up off us bitches everywhere.

Bill said...

I agree with absolutely everything you've said here. But, I also wonder why no one has mentioned that HPV also affects men?

Shark-fu said...

farmer tracy,
the baby is still in the bathwater(wink).

As the younger sister of an autistic adult who firmly believes that immunization was somehow involved in the onset of my brother's autism no one has more reason that this bitch to be reluctant to immunize the young.

However, over immunization does not mean we should toss out all new vaccines.

As to the issue of choice as it applies to cancer...perhaps, but a bitch would make that choice in a heartbeat and let my wee minified hypothetical ABB love child cuss me out later.

Interesting spin, though.

Shark-fu said...

Bill,

Thanks and you just did.

HPV strains have been linked to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus and penis.

Justice said...

"We are at war with a movement prepared to see us die rather than live outside of their strict moral code."

Perfectly put. Terribly accurate.

Regina said...

Bill: yes, it's true!

My understanding of the vaccine that's being referred to is that it vaccinates against 4 strains of HPV, 2 of which are causally linked to the vast majority of cervical cancers, and 2 of which cause genital warts, which don't cause cancer but also affect men. So there is a positive reason to immunize boys as well.

This is in addition to the fact that men are carriers of the HPV strains that cause cervical cancer in women and (I think) penile cancer in men.

Also, did you know HPV strains have been linked to oral and throat cancers, in addition to those listed by Shark-fu above?

And HPV is endemic to the population. Something like 80% of folks get it at some point, and OB-GYNs basically assume that you've been exposed to cancer-causing strains of HPV if you have had at least 3 sexual partners, ever. So it would really make sense for everyone to get vaccinated.

Uccellina said...

I had the same reaction as Farmer Tracy. I wish there were a way to make this vaccine available to everyone who would choose to get it without forcing it on those who would not. Especially as they really don't know what the long-term effects will be.

Anonymous said...

I am not convinced about the putative vaccine-autism connection.

I am convinced that it is a good thing to prevent young women from dying of locally aggressive or metastatic cervical cancer. And yes, this is a disease that in its advanced forms tends to affect poorer women.

NancyP

Shark-fu said...

Uccellina...
Interesting perspective.

Eitherway, a bitch would rather argue the medical/long term effects than whether a shot in the ass at 10 years old creates a driving need to get it on.

Oh...one more thing...this choice is connected to money here, big time. Maintaining your ability to choose this vaccine or not means that millions of folks will be without the shot, optional or not.

Poor folks don't get a lot of choices...the right to decide on medical treatment...the option of forking over $300 big ones to prevent HPV.

Our system stinks, but not making this mandatory only makes the HPV vaccine the new designer it drug and the ability to prevent certain cervical cancers another privilige of the rich.

Bill said...

Regina,

Yes. HPV is incredibly common (just like the herpes virus that causes cold sores) which gives this vaccine so much validity and value. The sad thing is that, left unchecked, it causes cancer not only in women, but also in men. More accurately, gay men are very likely to carry it AND see a lot of cases of rectal cancer.

In fact, including myself, I can think of at least 5 of my other gay male friends who have contracted it EVEN given the fact that safe sex was practiced.

It's just that most of us don't get cancer.

Homer said...

It's ironic that the same people against that vaccine insist on calling themselves "Pro-Life."

It's Me, Maven... said...

Seems fitting to share this here...

PEACE AND WAR
(from The Wanderer, Kahlil Gibran, 1932)

Three dogs were basking in the sun and conversing. The first dog said
dreamily, "It is indeed wondrous to be living in this day of dogdom.
Consider the ease with which we travel under the sea, upon the earth and even in the sky. And meditate for a moment upon the inventions brought forth for the comfort of dogs, even for our eyes and ears and noses."

And the second dog spoke and he said, "We are more heedful of the arts. We bark at the moon more rhythmically than did our forefathers. And when we gaze at ourselves in the water we see that our features are clearer than the features of yesterday."

Then the third dog spoke and said, "But what interests me most and beguiles my mind is the tranquil understanding existing between dogdoms."

At that very moment they looked, and lo, the dog-catcher was
approaching.

The three dogs sprang up and scampered down the street; and as they ran, the third dog said, "For God's sake, run for your lives. Civilization is after us."
###

As an aside... Hey Homer...

What's also ironic is the same folks who put themselves out there as "pro-life" see nothing wrong with the death penalty in prisons, as well as seeing the needless wanton slaughter of innocent civilians and soldiers for our society's addictive thirst for oil.

Anonymous said...

Cervical cancer vaccine prevents other cancers, study finds
http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/nation/14741076.htm

quote
A vaccine against cervical cancer also prevents other types of gynecological cancers and could lower the incidence of tumors in the head and neck, too, according to a new study.

"If we vaccinate everybody in the U.S., we could probably impact head and neck cancer in approximately 20 years," said Marshall Posner, director of the head and neck oncology program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

snip

The virus, however, has also been found in cancers of the tongue, tonsils and pharynx, said Stuart Wong, an assistant professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin who practices at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital.


It is horrifying that a few groups would rather let people die, and die horribly, than risk them having sex for purposes other than procreation outside of marriage. Since they haven't been able to bring back stoning for "unchastity" (see here http://www.au.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5628&abbr=cs_ ) as of yet they will do the next best thing by leaving people to die from lack of preventive medicine.

Aarlene said...

Yep the religinazis want to make damn sure if you SIN you get the punishment. Allowing you(us,women) to CATCH the results such as pregnancy and/or STDs is the next best thing to being there to condemn you in person.

Andrew said...

War...hmmmm....


I must say ABB that you have an incredible knack to paint as bleak of a picture as possible of the Consertive/Religious right movement.

"We are at war with a movement prepared to see us die rather than live outside of their strict moral code."

While this is true it doesn't really look at the rights true motivation for it's stance.

While a vaccination for HPV and HIV is well and good there's always going to be another virus that turns up(your hypothetical about vaccinations for everything notwithstanding). We could give our children all the innoculations in the world and something would still come up, it's the nature of the beast, or rather it's nature.

Due to this the right's fight for morals over more vaccine's, while seemingly heartless, is in place because sex needs to be strongly discouraged and by giving children these vaccines it could be interpreted as a hall pass to intercourse.

I am certainly not a paradigm of sexual morality but I just felt it was prudent for this to be seen from the other side.


And honestly Homer, if you don't see the difference between these "Pro-Life" people arguing against the aborting of an innocent child who will never have the choice of whether or not to have sex and arguing against requiring a vaccine that could very well perpetuate our already eroded moral center then you're being purposly naive.

Daniel Miller of Iowa City said...

you are phenomenal

Shark-fu said...

Andrew,

A bitch advises that you read the article my ass linked to. This bitch is taking the social conservative movement for what they say...it is not my fault if they are willing to go on record denouncing this vaccine because it threatens marriage.

Oh, and your arguement about there always being a killer bug so why jump on the killer bug in front of you is creepy...thank Gawd folks didn't take that stand against Polio.

Then again, polio wasn't related to sex for pleasure.

Thanks for sharing...but that dawg don't hunt.

Our tepid response to aggressive attacks is what inspires apathy and encourages disrespect of the liberal movement.

Hell yes, we are at war.

Lesley said...

Vaccines should NOT be Mandatory. Do the research, then decide your conscience.

I agree with your argument ABB. But the governement Requiring vaccines and not giving people all the information about them is fascist to the fullest extent.
Chicken Pox?! Come on.
This is new and still experimental vaccine. I wonder what will come of it years down the road. I am a skeptic.

However, if you want to give it to your child after learning all you can about it then absolutely, it needs to be free.

Danielle said...

Bitch, I whole heartedly agree with you, but a part of your post make me laugh out loud. After being forced in my upbringing to read several volumes of feminist theory describing sexual intercourse as so oppressive towards women that it should be done away with, it seems funny to hear a feminist describe abstinence only education as anti-woman. I would think feminists would like abstinence only education. I realize, though that feminism has changed its mind since those books were published. nowdays, it's ok to have sex, as long as you don't procreate.

Anonymous said...

A member of the FDA is worried that over the counter sales of Emergency Contraception will lead to teen sex-cults. Can't wait to see what this doctor thinks of this vaccine.

FDA grilled about Plan B contraceptive
http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-bzfda0423,0,5604733.story

Former FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford, Dr. Janet Woodcock, deputy operations commissioner, and Dr. Steven Galson, director of the FDA's drug evaluation center, are to testify in court-ordered depositions to be taken by attorneys for the Manhattan-based Center for Reproductive Rights on April 26, 27 and 28 in Washington, D.C. and Rockville, Md.

The women's group seeks to force approval of over-the-counter sales of Plan B, which can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.

Simon Heller, one of the attorneys, plans to quiz Woodcock about a March 23, 2004, staff memo suggesting she was concerned Plan B might lead to teenage promiscuity.

The FDA is only supposed to consider the safety and efficacy of drugs.

In the memo released by the FDA during the discovery process, Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an agency medical officer, wrote: "As an example, she stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an 'urban legend' status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B."

Shark-fu said...

Lesley...
Your point brings us to the issue of universal health care, public health vs privacy and parent's rights vs public health. This is, without a doubt, the debate we should be having instead of discussing whether vaccines inspire lust and lust inspires sex outside of marriage and thus the destruction of society as we know it.

Currently, a lack of mandatory classification means that the rich have choices and the poor have none. Add to that the fact that society, in the form of health care premiums and federal health care programs, pays for the treatment of diseases that some are demanding the individual right to choose whether to prevent or not and...well, it is complicated.

Worthy of discussion, though...without a doubt.

Shark-fu said...

Danielle...

Medical theory used to state that one could bleed all disease from the body...things change and usually for the better. Would you dismiss all medicine for some of its past?

As to procreation...did a bitch speak out against women having babies or is a bitch a victim of the assumption game?

Not everyone can wear yellow, Danielle...but a bitch knows that some folks look amazing in it.

The same holds true for parenting, my dear.

Anonymous said...

I'm so anti-vaccine it aint funny

I want the right to NOT take a vaccine or vaccinate any children I may have. I'm currently working with a health practitioner that is anti vaccine.

Danielle said...

Bitch-
As long as the medical community admits that that was what was once said, and yes it was wrong, (which they do). Feminists have a hard time admitting that their past was full of crazy ideas.

Jim said...

As a cancer researcher let me just corroborate ABB's stance with some steely-cold fact.

Cervical cancer increases.

You can do your own research here

http://seer.cancer.gov/

and here

http://www3.who.int/whosis/menu.cfm?path=whosis,bod,burden,burden_estimates,burden_estimates_2002N,burden_estimates_2002N_2002Rev,burden_estimates_2002N_2002Rev_Region&language=english

Politics and 'morality' aside, anyone opposing this vaccine is sanctioning death. War, I'm afraid, is an deadly accurate term.

CrankyProf said...

I read this: "Four different clinical trials involving 21,000 women around the world demonstrated Gardasil was "nearly 100% effective" in preventing HPV-caused precancerous cervical, vaginal and vulvar lesions. It also prevented genital warts effectively, the FDA said.

"While the study period was not long enough for cervical cancer to develop, the prevention of these cervical precancerous lesions is believed highly likely to result in the prevention of those cancers," the FDA said. [Emphasis added.]"


in the "New SCientist." This was a fast-track clinical trial that lasted six months, according to that same article. Merck, as I've read in several articles, is going to continue to perform follow-up testing and study the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine, including evaluating the need for booster shots. They will also be testing the vaccine in men. Before I'm comfortable with this (or, frankly, ANY vaccine) I have some questions:

1 As the FDA acknowledged above, the study wasn't long enough for cervical cancer to have developed. On what is the belief that prevention of precancerous lesions equals prevention of cancer based?

2 Considering that thalidomide, for example, is teratogenic in humans and in rabbits but not in rats, why was teratogenicity studied only in rats?

3 The patient populations are large enough (roughly 8500 in each group, drug and placebo) to suggest that we can assume similar levels of sexual activity in each group, and therefore similar levels of HPV exposure. However, I would like to see the statistical analysis that validates these assumptions.

4 Reading the study, I see that the populations were tested for the relevant strains of HPV via PCR and serum testing prior to vaccination, and through the series of shots (there are three, costing $120 apiece) up to one month after receiving the last shot. There's no reference to further PCR and serum testing being performed thereafter - just examinations for warts and lesions. Considering that HPV can remain dormant in the human body, with what statistical certainty does the lack of warts and lesions over the duration of the study signify a lack of HPV?

Shark-fu said...

Danielle...
A bitch isn't disagreeing with your critique but rather the absolute nature of it.

This bitch is not fond of absolute statements (wink). Nothing gets my back up like someone saying shit like 'black people do this or that' or 'feminsits think this'.

A bitch thinks that sometimes people confused passionate debate with absolute theory. The only absolute is that there are no absolutes.

"Feminists" includes me and the definition you are hinting at is way off when applied to me.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who tells you that fear of disease is going to keep people from having sex is ignorant of history. Back in the day, there were no effective treatments for sexually transmitted diseases. This didn't stop people from screwing around. What it did was cause enormous human suffering. This I think is really the goal of the anti-HPV crowd: they want people who have sex to suffer.

As for the safety of vaccines in general, I'm not entirely convinced of the link between autism and vaccines, but certainly think it's worth investigating. I fully support all attempts to make them safer. However, let's keep things in perspective: the diseases that vaccines prevent are far more dangerous than the vaccines themselves. Putting it another way, three of my grandmother's siblings died of things that we now vaccinate against ... and her family's tragedy was hardly unique.

Farmer Tracy said...

Hi again,

I just want to post a link to an article in the Feb. issue of Harpers that talks more about the thrust of my previous comment, that is, that disempowered groups in our society are the balls in a gross ping-pong game between the power players.
http://harpers.org/OutOfControl.html

Also, if you haven't seen "The Constant Gardener" go see it now.

It is totally outrageous and incredibly racist that being on Medicaid means that you can't make your own health care choices, and that you are either denied a potentially life saving vaccine or forced to get one against your will. HPV can cause cancer, and childhood vaccinations may cause autism. But it scares the HELL out of me that people can't make those choices themselves. We're talking about the government and corporations duking it out over what can happen to OUR bodies, and saying, "Poor people of America, we'll sorta help you out, but only if you listen to us because we know what's best." I am not advocating libertarianism -- nobody should have to pay for health care in my radical opinion. But to me the war isn't about protecting poor folks' right to not get cancer, it's about protecting their ability to decide what's best for themselves.

Shark-fu said...

Nancy...

We have the present day reality and we have the goal...and a big decision to make about what to do while we journey from point A to point B.

As to deciding to or not to prevent disease...that debate has been had. Polio, measles, small pox and so forth and so on.

Public health wins everytime...unless the disease involves fucking.

The poor get all manner of options and choices when it sex is on the table.

The point is pressing. We are living in today not the future we aspire to.

So, what to do now...in the face of the rampant devastation sexually transmitted diseases are taking on the urban and rural poor?

What now?

Pandora said...

To the parents who don't believe in vaccination, the rest of us who do vaccinate our children accept your gracious thanks for protecting your children by proxy. Vaccinations aren't foolproof, as seen by the recent outbreaks of mumps and whooping cough but given the choice between an outbreak versus an epidemic, I'll take the outbreak scenario, thanks. Out of respect for ABB, I'll get off that soapbox here because that's not the topic.

I had a talk with my 13 year old daughter this week about the HPV vaccine and my rationale for having her vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available. I told her that although she's not currently sexually active (and,indeed, still claims to find the very thought of it revolting), eventually there will come a day when she does become sexually active and this will help protect her when that time comes. I have no intention of discussing this with my daughter's father. He'd have a knee-jerk ignorant reaction. And as he's never paid attention to what vaccines she has received thus far I don't see the point in including him on this decision.

As someone else pointed out, the hepatitis B immunization didn't seem to cause this sort of outrage. My daughter had her first injection the day after she was born. We did have a Democrat in the White House back then and maybe that's part of the difference.

lori said...

danielle said,

"As long as the medical community admits that that was what was once said, and yes it was wrong, (which they do). Feminists have a hard time admitting that their past was full of crazy ideas."

And thus reveals that she neither knows doctors nor feminism very well.

Maia said...

Hello - just a courtesy comment to let you know I am linking to this excellent post and comments thread. Thanks!