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Cunnilingus, Michael Douglas’s Cancer, and the HPV Vaccine

Conservative Christians are calling for banning oral and anal sex between consenting adults, claiming that the practices allow for the spread of disease. Radio host Brian Fischer says that a rise in head, neck and throat cancers “among millennials” is a direct result of the influence of “Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.” He compares oral sex and homosexual sex to drug trafficking, pedophilia and bestiality. He hasn’t decided how offenders should be punished but he suggests either issuing summonses like parking tickets or putting them into programs akin to drug rehab. He says Liz Cheney (the daughter of former Vice President Cheney) is “not a patriot” because she may support gay marriage.

Those of us who want the government to stay the hell out of our bedrooms will gladly ignore such rants, but the health risks of sexual practices are real. Michael Douglas recently shocked the world by announcing that cunnilingus could have caused his throat cancer. He was right, it could have.

HPV causes several kinds of cancer

Most head and neck cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol, but researchers believe that up to 80% of oropharyngeal cancers are due to HPV (human papilloma virus) infection. The cause can be confirmed by testing biopsy samples for HPV DNA. The incidence of throat cancer caused by HPV is rising rapidly (a 225% increase from 1988 to 2004) and has been attributed to an increase in oral sex. It is estimated that by 2020 HPV will cause more oropharyngeal cancers than cervical cancers in the US.

Approximately 15 types of HPV cause virtually all cases of cervical cancer; types 16 and 18 account for 70% of cases. Type 16 causes 85% of anal cancers. Types 16 and 18 cause close to half of vaginal, vulvar, and penile cancers. More than half of cancers diagnosed in the oropharynx are linked to Type 16. In addition, people infected with HPV may be three times as likely to develop esophageal cancer. DNA tests for HPV are accurate, but there are as yet no FDA-approved tests for detecting HPV virus in men.

HPV Vaccines

One of the Holy Grails of medical research is a vaccine to prevent cancer. Now we have 2 of them, Gardasil and Cervarix. Both vaccines are highly protective against HPV types 16 and 18, and Gardasil also protects against type 6 and 11. They have not specifically been approved for prevention of oropharyngeal cancer, but we can expect that they will accomplish that as well.

Only half of US girls age 13-17 have received a dose of the HPV vaccine, and only a third have received the full recommended series of three. Other countries have higher vaccination rates; the rate in Rwanda is 80%. Despite the poor uptake in the US, HPV infections in teens have fallen by half since the vaccines became available, suggesting that some degree of herd immunity is occurring. By one estimate, if the vaccination rate in the US equaled Rwanda’s, 50,000 lifetime cases of cervical cancer could be prevented.

The vaccines are most effective if given before sexual activity starts. A series of three injections two months apart is recommended at age 11-12 for both girls and boys. The cost in the US is a total of $450, not always covered by insurance; but the manufacturers have cut their prices to the world’s poorest countries to below $5 a dose. In poor countries, Pap tests are impractical, treatment of cancer is not readily available, and cervical cancer kills an estimated 275,000 women a year.

Two factors are responsible for the low vaccination rate in the U.S.: doctors are not pushing the vaccine and malicious rumors are frightening parents.

Irresponsible fear-mongering

Myth: The HPV vaccine has killed at least 21 girls (Mercola says 122).
Reality: Deaths have occurred after the vaccine; deaths have occurred in girls who were not vaccinated; not one single death has ever been attributed to the vaccine.

Myth: The vaccine has caused 9749 adverse reactions.
Reality: No serious adverse reactions have been attributed to the vaccine.

Myth: It has caused 10 miscarriages.
Reality: It has not been linked to miscarriages. Sure, 10 individuals may have had miscarriages after getting the vaccine, but the baseline rate of miscarriage is higher than that in women who have not been vaccinated.

Note: these 3 claims were based on reports to VAERS (the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System). VAERS only lists things that happened after vaccination; it doesn’t mean they were caused by vaccination. Relying on VAERS data is a post hoc ergo propter hoc error in reasoning. 57,000,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered, yet no deaths or serious adverse reactions have been linked to the vaccine.

Myth: It hasn’t been properly tested.
Reality: It was tested in thousands of girls before marketing, and the after-market experience with 57,000,000 doses constitutes a further test.

Myth: It hasn’t been shown to reduce the rate of cervical cancer.
Reality: It takes a couple of decades for those cancers to appear. Meanwhile, it has reduced the rate of the infections that cause those cancers, so it would be amazing if it had no impact.

Myth: It only covers a few strains of the virus.
Reality: Yes, but those are the ones that matter.

Myth: It will lead to promiscuity.
Reality: More than one study has shown that it doesn’t.

Myth: Mike Adams, the “Health Ranger,” says the FDA knew as early as 2003 that the HPV virus was not linked to cervical cancer.
Reality: What is he smoking? The entire scientific community accepts the strong evidence of a link.

Conclusion

We have a vaccine for cancer! A very safe vaccine that reduces the rate of HPV infections and therefore will reduce the rate of cervical cancer and several other types of cancer. If Michael Douglas had had the option of being vaccinated as a teen, it’s possible that it could have prevented his throat cancer. I don’t see any valid reason to refuse the vaccine other than perhaps its cost. My daughters were both vaccinated, and if I had a teenage son, I would make sure he got the vaccine too. And before anyone has a chance to suggest it, let me say that I do not receive any pay from Big Pharma nor do I own any stock in the companies that make the vaccines.

Posted in: Cancer, Vaccines

Leave a Comment (54) ↓

54 thoughts on “Cunnilingus, Michael Douglas’s Cancer, and the HPV Vaccine

  1. Joey H. says:

    Having gone through chicken pox and early-stage cervical cancer, I find it a wonder that vaccines to prevent these have been developed in my lifetime. And it breaks my heart that there are parents who are more willing to let their kids experience these things than they are to educate themselves about the vaccines. Imagine being a mom and deciding that a year of colposcopies and finally a surgical procedure (in the *best* case scenario that was my experience) is a better risk than a vaccine.

    1. The problem is that there is not one accepted standard for the very important caveat, “educated”. The anti-vax people always start out by telling you how they “educated” themselves about vaccines. Mercola, et al, will tell you how they became “educated” about their miracle cures. Dr. Oz is very highly “educated”.

      These people all think you and I are simply “uneducated” about the “truth”. As I understand it, our task here is to try to reach those who are still exploring the issues and are open to science/reason as an authority.

      Personally, I wish there was more to be done about the hordes of the misinformed. It is my hope that this and other authentic sources will be able to sway some who aren’t too far gone.

  2. Anna says:

    One of the Holy Grails of medical research is a vaccine to prevent cancer. Now we have 2 of them, Gardasil and Cervarix.

    Don’t forget the hepatitis B vaccine!

    While we won’t know for sure what impact the vaccine will have on cancer rates until a few decades pass, the evidence from Australia, where the vaccination rate is very high, is striking. There has been an over 90 percent decline in genital wart rates among the youngest age group studied, so if genital wart rates can be taken as an indicator for future cancer rates, I think we have a lot to be hopeful about. And if we can get this vaccine into countries that don’t have widespread access to Pap testing, even better.

    Funnily enough, I posted about Gardasil just yesterday — and the first Facebook comment was about all the deaths that have been linked to the vaccine. Sometimes I feel like you just can’t win. People don’t understand correlation and causation, and they don’t seem to understand that in a sample of tens of millions there are going to be some deaths. But this kind of fear mongering is so effective that it can lead people to ignore the very real risks of the diseases that we can vaccinate against.

  3. Birdy says:

    Our provincial system expanded the HPV vaccine program to cover boys as well as girls recently. Thank you for reminding me that I intended to send a letter to the health minister praising him for one of his first ever forward-thinking moves. My province does tend to be rather socially conservative, so it was rather refreshing to see a rational policy decision.

    1. It must be nice to live in a rational country!

  4. Mark Erickson says:

    You mean Mary Cheney.

    1. No, Mary Cheney is the gay daughter. But Liz, who is running for Senator (Wyoming) has stated she supports gay marriage, so the extreme anti’s will go after her as Harriet has reported.

      1. Harriet Hall says:

        I wrote “Liz Cheney, the gay daughter…” I had the two confused. Mary is the gay daughter, Liz Cheney is the one running for office. I corrected the article to read “Liz Cheney, the daughter of…” Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  5. windriven says:

    “It will lead to promiscuity.”

    Hmmm. Promiscuity antedates Gardisil. Besides, is the objective preventing teens from ever having sex (good luck with that) or preparing teens so that their sexual encounters are physically and emotionally healthy?

  6. BillyJoe says:

    The reason that vaccination rates are so high in Australia (90%) is twofold: there is very little respect for antivaccinationIsts here; and the vaccinations are offered free of charge to all children in all schools public and private in year seven.

    1. Carl says:

      BillyJoe August 6, 2013
      The reason that vaccination rates are so high in Australia [...]

      It also probably helped when your anti-vaccination network dopes were placed in the stocks and beaten with sticks.

      1. BillyJoe says:

        But you cannot seem to make that happen in the US of A.

  7. I read about this in The Guardian when Douglas first mentioned it in an interview with that paper. There was a follow-up explaining the details.

    http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/jun/03/michael-douglas-cancer-oral-sex?guni=Article:in%20body%20link

    Why on earth are some insurance companies not paying for this life-saving vaccine? Just another failing of our patchwork healthcare system. I’ll have to check to see that my grandkids have got this–and offer to pay for those not covered–sigh!

  8. rork says:

    Thanks for reviewing the vax fear-mongering arguments, which I have tried to fight for a long time now. One that might have been overlooked is the argument that women in developed countries don’t need vax thanks to regular pap smear, which fails to consider those who don’t get such regular care, the costs of that care, or that is not only about cervical cancer.
    Other notes:
    I’ve been awaiting epidemiologists telling us how risky kissing is.
    I haven’t crunched numbers, but suspect we now (in U.S.) have more HPV-caused cancer deaths in men than in women. Part of that is that the H+N cancers kill more than cervical, likely cause our early detection is not as good.
    Women in U.S. have more anal cancers than men. I’ve done some (na, more like every) risky things in the past myself, but it’s been decades since the call to modify our behaviors a little.
    Disclaim: I study H+N cancers. I find them horrible. I’m biased toward vaxing to help fix that.

  9. Ken Hamer says:

    Hat’s off to Michael Douglas.

    I’d like to think that he’s done as much good as Jenny McCarthy has done bad.

  10. elburto says:

    Conservative Christians are calling for banning oral and anal sex between consenting adults, claiming that the practices allow for the spread of disease.

    Whereas we all know that good old-fashioned, Jebus-approved, penis-in-vagina sex (missionary position, natch!) does none of that. It is not only a zero-risk activity, but it actually cures illness, and creates magical Jebus dust with every pious, dutiful thrust.

    1. windriven says:

      I wasn’t going to play the religious wingnut card … but since you’ve broken that particular hymen:

      What is it about the religiously conservative that so frightens (disgusts?) them about sex? We know from Saul of Tarsus (Paul) that he was quite the coxswain before he got religion. Similarly Augustine, font from which flows a millenium and a half of sexual repression was also something of a libertine in his youth.

      My suspicion is that this is all tied up with women as chattel and maintaining the ‘value’ of the asset – a prospect of rather greater importance to men of at least some means than to young bucks.

      1. elburto says:

        There’s a rather disturbing sense of girls as the ‘property’ of their fathers. You can’t sully another man’s property, that’s outrageous! In Dominionist homes girls and young women are under the control of their fathers until they marry. They’re often married to someone that Daddy Dearest has chosen, and Daddy’s reputation and honour would be ruined if he handed over an item that had a broken security seal.

        Have you ever read/watched anything about “Purity Balls”? I guarantee it will creep you out. Young girls pledging themselves to their fathers until such time as they can be passed to a new owner.

        Sex is purely for married men and women, it is a duty to produce little arrows of God, to pierce the hearts of unbelievers. Apparently the sheer cognitive dissonance is overwhelming. Imagine being told that sexual contact (or even alone time with someone of the opposite sex) is dirty, shameful, wrong and disgusting but that the instant that ring’s on your finger, you have to start doing it!

        It’s not just the christians either. Hasidic kids never get near anyone of the opposite sex. Couples are matched, meet once or twice, then get married. Girls go to special pre-wedding classes to learn about sex, reproduction, and the laws of “family purity”. Boys, OTOH, get a quick explanation of their wedding night duties (or later that month, if she’s not “clean” on the wedding day) just prior to the service. They usually vomit or faint, girls are typically mortified at what they’re expected to do. Not to mention that the laws around sex and “purity” are amazingly complex and strict. They make fundagelicals seem like free-living hippies in comparison.

        1. windriven says:

          Holy crap, if you’ll pardon the expression. I’d never so much as heard of ‘purity balls’ until you mentioned them. For a second I thought this was about the testicles of chaste young men ;-)

          “Young girls pledging themselves to their fathers until such time as they can be passed to a new owner.”

          Gack.

          I also didn’t realize that the Hasidim were so deeply repressed. After reading your comment I poked around the University of Google a bit and was flabbergasted. Particularly disturbing was a piece written* by an ex-Hasid woman. I’ve seen some of this in Muslim communities in the ME but never dreamed for a moment that it existed in Brooklyn, NY.

          http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2012/02/ex-hasid-talks-about-sex-pedophilia-and-dating-non-jews-345.html

          1. elburto says:

            Dark stuff, eh? Sadly, as someone who worked in public health in an area of the UK with a sizeable population of Hasidim/Haredim, this kind of thing is all too disgustingly familiar to me. I lived in a street directly opposite their enclave, and was spat on for walking on the “wrong” side of the street, ie., the ‘male side’. I was also called “whore” for having the nerve to wear a shin-length skirt on my own street. The girls and women carry the entire weight of their community’s “purity” on their shoulders. Look up “Taharas HaMispacha” . That’ll make christian purity rules look as benign as cootie patrol.

            When women are considered so filthy that they may not be touched or looked at, when a wife can’t be touched by her husband or even pass anything to him for half of every month, without rendering him impure, then the very rules of human interaction have been subverted.

            Sexuality is denied entirely, the sexes are entirely separate from age 3* until marriage, then urges will find outlets wherever they can, that’s why paedophilia is endemic in those closed communities. It’s been going on ignored and denied for generations.

            *Prepare yourself, maybe with a pint of vodka – three is the age when girls must be covered from neck to toes, lest they use their wicked feminine wiles to sexually tempt the good men of the community into sin. And people wonder why I’ve rejected the christian and jewish beliefs in my family, and traded them for hope in humanity, science and learning.

          2. Lovleanjel says:

            My friend converted to Hasidim (from reform) in college. The matchmaker refused to match her to a born man – her match was another late convert who had already lost his virginity. As far as I know they both go through the rigmarole. They send their kids to a non-Orthodox summer camp, so they at least get exposed to other religions and ideas once a year.

          3. Surprised you missed all that for so long wd! Welcome to the world of fundamentalism in all it’s superstitious repression of women.

        2. anti-idiots says:

          Your description is quite apt of the muslims here in Germany. Evangelical Christians, not so much.

      2. brewandferment says:

        It’s a main part of Hindu culture too. A woman I know who has lived in the US for about 15 years had an arranged marriage and says it is still the norm in India.

      3. Alia says:

        Somehow, this reminds me of one of Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell” – “As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.”

        1. Mark Nichols says:

          Imagine that, God creates a virus which attacks men and women when they give and receive oral sex, what does that tell you about the nature of God?

          If the enjoyment of giving pleasure to females is stymied by eventual cancer, then what the hell is the point of this life anyway?

          There are natural remedies out there which come from the human body itself and are incredibly effective against viruses and bacterias, except that “modern science” does not benefit financially when men take the initiative and conduct their own experiments.

          The human body and its associated chemicals and byproducts ought to be enough to destroy pathogens which are health threatening.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Imagine that, God creates a virus which attacks men and women when they give and receive oral sex, what does that tell you about the nature of God?

            Well for me, it says that God takes a remarkably wasteful approach that seems identical to the “good enough to breed” mechanism found in evolution.

            There are natural remedies out there which come from the human body itself and are incredibly effective against viruses and bacterias, except that “modern science” does not benefit financially when men take the initiative and conduct their own experiments.

            Do you know what the drug suffix -mab stands for? It’s used in standard nomenclature to denote a monoclonal antibody that is derived from human (or nonhuman) B-cells, grown in vats, purified, packaged and sold at great profit. There’s actually a lot of them. The limiting factor is proof of safety and efficacy, not source. But yeah, toxoids are an underfunded area of research, particularly given the gradual decline in the effectiveness of antibiotics.

            The human body and its associated chemicals and byproducts ought to be enough to destroy pathogens which are health threatening.

            Sadly, that’s not the case. Patrick Swayze, Steve Jobs, Steve McQueen, the Pharoahs of Egypt, the rulers of nations, disease has been more than happy to kill all of them, indifferent to how well-fed they were. There is evidence to suggest the average Native American was better-fed, taller and healthier than their European counterparts (at least in some parts of the continent) but died in droves, 95-99% fatality, upon the introduction of European diseases (see Charles Mann’s excellent 1491). The Spanish Influenza pandemic preferentially killed healthy, well-fed males in their primes of life (army recruits between the ages of 20 and 40). Disease isn’t so simple a matter as “eat your vegetables and you’ll be fine”. Our unique genetic makeup (on a person-by-person basis) makes us resistant or vulnerable to different pathogens. Not to mention, some diseases have evolved to specifically take advantage of human biology (it’s why you have to have a very specific animal model for disease research; polio evolved from an infective vector found in mole rats, but is now so far diverged that it’s better at killing people than rats). You’re far better trusting preventive measures like vaccination than gambling on being able to fight off disease later. Not to mention, refusing vaccination is a bit of a dick move in that you are still perfectly capable of giving it to other people, while showing symptoms or not.

            And that’s not even discussing things like congenital disorders!

          2. Chris says:

            “Imagine that, God creates a virus which attacks men and women when they give and receive oral sex, what does that tell you about the nature of God?”

            By the hammer of Thor, which god?

            Actually it tells me that nature does not care, and pretty much wants to dead.

      4. Terry Nordoff-Perusse says:

        Sorry, my computer just dipped out. The historian Peter Brown has a wonderful study of early Christianity and sexuality called “The Body and Society”. There are some very twisted attitudes among the early church fathers that depict a virulent disgust towards women. The cult of the virgin martyrs – Barbara, Agnes, Katherine of Alexandria; all fiction by the way – glorifies virginity over death and was hugely popular across the millennia. The attitude continues today with the recent beatification of a girl who chose to die rather than be raped; the old “fate worse than death” attitude.

      5. anti-idiots says:

        St. Augustine: absolutely right.
        St. Paul: do you have a source for that?

        In any case, Augustine’s indescretions were a source of shame for him, so I doubt he would have advised any Christian to “go and do thou likewise.”

        I waited until marriage to have sex for the first time, and I married a woman who had similar convictions, as far as I know. It makes me happy to think that I am not being compared to another man, and she assures me that she feels the same. And, so long as we are faithful to each other and our vows, we are relatively safe from all those nasty STDs out there. And, according to St. Paul, having sex with someone makes them somehow “joined together” in a spiritual, mystical way, as I understand it. I’d like that to be with my soul mate, and ONLY with her.

        This here Christian loves sex (with my God-given spouse), in any form or position we choose that does not cause pain to the other. As far as oral goes, as it is more blessed to give than to receive, hee-hee.

        I don’t know about women as chattel, but I belong to my wife, and she to me. And I believe my life is going to be a great deal happier and filled with less pain as long as we keep it that way.

        As long as we’re on the subject of gays, it is also disengenuous to claim that many of us disapprove of homosexuality because we are “frightened or disgusted” by sex. I harbor no animosity or hate towards my best high school chum OR his partner, and I pray for them both, regularly. But their behavior is condemned in the Bible, and as I as an extremely conservative Christian choose to believe that what the Bible says is true, I also have to believe that homosexual “sex” acts are sinful.

        So don’t claim to know what all Christians approve or disapprove of. Your posting reeks of bigotry and ignorance.

        1. windriven says:

          @anti-idiots

          Sorry it has taken me so long but I’ve only just revisited this thread. And right you are; color me an idiot. I misremembered Paul being sexually hyperactive in his youth. After reviewing his life it appears that his sexual repression may well have been a life-long character trait. Some suggest that Paul was homosexual and that the conflict between his religiosity and his homosexuality fueled this repression. But what I’ve read of his alleged homosexuality (and it isn’t all that much) makes me wonder if the speculators are dabbling in amateur forensic psychology. Sexually repressive impulses thread through the Abrahamic religions. I’ve no idea why. But it strikes me as pathological. Saul of Tarsus is just one of many.

          “As far as oral goes, as it is more blessed to give than to receive, hee-hee.”
          Giving is wonderful. But I wouldn’t sell the getting short ;-)

          “I as an extremely conservative Christian choose to believe that what the Bible says is true, I also have to believe that homosexual “sex” acts are sinful. So don’t claim to know what all Christians approve or disapprove of. Your posting reeks of bigotry and ignorance.”

          This leaves me with a headache. The Tooth Fairy says it is a no-no for homosexuals to engage in homosexuality and that’s good enough for you. But the rest of us are ignorant bigots??? Dude. You need to give your thinking a tune-up.

          Let’s imagine that your god exists. Why don’t you let him (her?) worry about where people put their nasty bits. If your nasty bits aren’t involved and the nasty bits that are involved are indoors and belong to adults, it is none of your business what they do with them.

  11. Bitter Vetch says:

    “One of the Holy Grails of medical research is a vaccine to prevent cancer. Now we have 2 of them, Gardasil and Cervarix.” True. But there are more than two. For 25 years we’ve had Hep B vaccine, the first vaccine to prevent cancer. I wonder why that is so often overlooked.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      Yes, Hep B is also protective against cancer, but I don’t think of it as a cancer vaccine. Maybe I should, but I think of it more as a preventive for hepatitis, cirrhosis, etc. which also happens to reduce hepatocellular cancer as a secondary effect.

  12. abbabelblubb says:

    So, aside from the already covered question “should children growing up get the vaccine” is should adults in their twenties (that are expected to have changing partners) get the vaccine? From my impression of the article, the answer may be ‘yes’.

    Here in Germany, the institution responsible only advises vaccination for females from 9 to 17 years of age. Women above the age may also get the vaccine if they and their physician deem it reasonable. (In this case, it obviously cannot be taken for granted that insurance will cover it).
    How about the men? Here, Cevarix may not be administered to males yet. All in all, I imagine it being a pain in the ass (intead of in the deltoids) to get the vaccine as an adult male here, despite possible benefits to the own health and that of others.

    I imagine that by the time it’s allowed here AND physicians know about it, I will be married anyways….

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      The HPV vaccine’s safety and effectiveness have not yet been studied in adults older than age 26. Until that information is available, the HPV vaccine is not recommended for adults older than 26.

      1. Lisa says:

        I think the main issue with vaccinating people in their later 20s is that so many of them have already been exposed to the vaccine strains of HPV, so the vaccine can’t help them. It’s hard to find enough HPV-naive people in that age group to study, even, though IIRC Merck is slowly enrolling women into their 40s in an effectiveness study, presumably with the goal of expanding the age indication upwards.

  13. Lisa says:

    Cost shouldn’t be a factor in HPV vaccine acceptance in the US. The cash price is kind of high, but under the Affordable Care Act, insurers must cover ACIP-recommended vaccines (which HPV, of course, is) with no cost sharing (i.e., no copayment, can’t make a person pay toward a deductible to get the vaccine). The only exceptions are for insurance plans grandfathered from compliance with ACA; those are few and getting fewer all the time. (It is worth keeping in mind, though, that the required coverage need only be available at in-network providers.) Teens without insurance are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program, under which vaccines are free. And I believe both manufacturers have patient assistance programs, for anyone who might slip through the cracks. So nobody should have to pay that cash price.

    1. Thanks for that very helpful and informative ACA update. Little bits of the ACA keep dribbling out and so far, each dribble is good news. I’ve tried finding a go-to place to get a comprehensive overview, but tend to get bogged down in endless minutia about the “exchanges”.

  14. Nadia says:

    I always thought people that are skeptical about vaccines were out of their mind. That is until our 13 year old daughter was diagnosed with narcolepsy, a non-curable neurological disorder.
    As I started to learn more about narcolepsy, there were more and more news about swine flu vaccination increasing your risk from about 1 in 2,000 people to about 1 in a hundred and that several European countries have started compensating vaccinated people that have developed narcolepsy. And of course we all got the vaccine a few years ago during the swine flu outbreak as we were traveling internationally and getting vaccinated seemed the right thing to do.
    I was hoping my child’s sleep specialist would tell me to disregard this information but instead he told me that there is no dispute about the relationship between the swine flu vaccine and increased incidents of narcolepsy but that we will never know if our child developing narcolepsy is a result of her getting vaccinated or not.
    So, as of now she has not been vaccinated for HPV. She knows what HPV is and why at this time we are choosing not to vaccinate her. Our hope is that by waiting a couple of years the medical community will get a better understanding on the benefits and risks of this vaccine.

    1. Chris says:

      Citation needed.

      And do you live in Finland?

      1. windriven says:

        Chris, there are actually a number of papers covering this on Pubmed. My search was not exhaustive but all of the studies whose abstracts I read claimed statistically significant linkage especially in children. I don’t know if any of these studies compared the rates among those who were vaccinated and those who contracted the virus. If those rates are similar then the issue may be related to the viral genetics at which point the linkage becomes interesting but not much more. Vax? Maybe get narcolepsy. No Vax? Maybe get the flu AND narcolepsy.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        The CDC has a page on this – there does appear to be a genuine link between narcolepsy and one variant of the H1N1 vaccine. It looks like there will need to be some research over why, and the vaccine reformulated (or, more likely, simply discarded in favour of another one). We know vaccines are very safe, but not 100% safe, so they must always be reviewed and changed if need be – like what happened with the switch from cellular to acellular pertussis. Of course, the risk isn’t 1/100, it’s more like 1/52,000 in the UK or 1/200,000 in Finland. Hopefully it’s as simple as the new adjuvant – remove it and the problem goes away. Based on the PLOS1 article, it may even be as simple as identifying a specific gene variant and ensuring those with it don’t get the new adjuvant (or, again, just stick with plain ol’ aluminum as an adjuvant).

        This certainly doesn’t warrant skepticism against all vaccines though, nor does it mean the diseases they prevent are any less deadly.

        Influenza is always a pain in the ass though, since it is so often perceived as unpleasant rather than deadly, and is less unambiguously dangerous than say, smallpox.

      3. Chris says:

        And, of course, the vaccines for influenza (there are several, plus they change each year), have nothing to do with either HPV vaccine.

  15. Kevin says:

    So I can’t go down on my wife?!!!!

  16. Matt Roman says:

    It’s actually recommended for men up to 26yo age I believe. I got mine at 26.

  17. Curtis says:

    “It has not been linked to miscarriages. Sure, 10 individuals may have had miscarriages after getting the vaccine, but the baseline rate of miscarriage is higher than that in women who have not been vaccinated.”

    Did you mean to write “…is NOT higher than that in women who have not been vaccinated”?

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      No, I meant that the rate of miscarriage after the vaccine is not higher than the baseline rate of miscarriage in the unvaccinated population.

  18. Wendy says:

    It’s very frightening to read the myths and realities in “Irresponsible Fear-mongering”. Doctors should be pushing this vaccine and it’s a pity there are so many anti-vaccine parents. In New Zealand girls and young women up to 20 can get the vaccine free. At this time there is no funded vaccine for boys, but is licensed for ages 9 – 26 years. I wish it was available when my kids were teenagers.

  19. Jason says:

    As a 28 y/o male who was a little more foolish of the risks of sexual relations with multiple females in my younger years, should I be legitimately concerned about HPV induced throat/mouth cancer? If so, is there really anything to be done at this point?

  20. Mark Nichols says:

    Personally, I believe that this may be true. There may be a link between really enjoying something and being good at it and then having to suffer a life changing illness because of that. If you hate doing something, you will never suffer the consequences, but if there is something that makes the drudgery of your life worthwhile, then you will suffer untold sorrow.

    A similiar thing would be people who start out life as faithful but seem to end up loveless despite their best efforts to and so out of desperation turn to prostitutes for relief then get punished when they contract aids.

    No-one who really wants to enjoy carefree sex without “responsibility” will get away with it. You have to wear a plastic bag on your penis to protect yourself when you are trying to enjoy yourself. Of course our enjoyment of anything which makes the burden of “life” tolerable is something which we will suffer for. Animals seem to have it best and enjoy life without the burdens of responsibilities.

    1. windriven says:

      ” if there is something that makes the drudgery of your life worthwhile, then you will suffer untold sorrow.”

      Oh, horseshit. You mistake the vicissitudes of life for some sort of cosmic payback for happiness. Sometimes stuff happens.

      ” turn to prostitutes for relief then get punished when they contract aids”

      And sure enough, stuff happens more frequently to those who consort with prostitutes bareback. And if you’re looking for happiness with a prostitute … dude.

      Great sex starts between the ears, not between the thighs. It should be a natural part of the evolving conversation between a man and a woman. If you had real adult relationships with intelligent women you wouldn’t need to be looking for rentals.

      “No-one who really wants to enjoy carefree sex without “responsibility” will get away with it. ”

      Great sex is many things but it is never carefree. There is nothing carefree about exchanging bodily fluids with another human being.

    2. Chris says:

      Just get the vaccine. Or just stay celibate. You can choose what is best for yourself because you are thinking human being. You can figure out there are risks to everything, from getting up in the morning to washing the dishes after dinner (which could also cause harm).

      Faith has nothing to do with it. Just use the brain cells your deity of choice gave you and think.

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