The health of our children is at risk

June 2, 2006 09:00 AM

Commentary by Jim Sedlak

The statistics are frightening. Our children are being exposed to lifestyle decisions that will lead to serious diseases. One of those diseases is the Human Papilloma Virus. There are 100 different strains of HPV and 30 of them are transmitted sexually and affect the human genitals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently estimates that “50 percent of men and women who are sexually active will contract a genital HPV in their lifetime. By age 50, 80 percent of women will have acquired a genital HPV infection.”

Now genital HPV is not new. According to the National HPV and Cervical Cancer Prevention Resource Center:

The HPV virus has been around for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks coined the term "condyloma" to describe warts because of their fig-like shape. In the early 1900s, a researcher named Cuiffo injected his skin with cells from a wart and developed a wart at the site of the injection. This was the first evidence that warts were caused by a transmittable organism. In 1949, the electron microscope showed that HPV was a virus. Not until 1979 was HPV linked to abnormal pap smears. In the 1980s, HPV types were separated into types that cause warts and types that cause cervical cell changes, and in the 1990s, it was established that HPV was necessary for the development of cervical cancer.


What this means is that not everyone who contracts genital HPV will develop cervical cancer, but everyone who develops cervical cancer will first get a genital HPV. Further scientific study has shown that two types of HPV cause about 70 percent of the cervical cancer cases. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee is currently considering whether to recommend approval of the first vaccine against those two types.

It is clear that HPV is serious business. According to the CDC, the types of HPV that affect the genital area are spread by genital contact. This ease of transmission is one of the reasons why HPV is so common among those that are sexually active.

In studying this major health problem, the CDC has developed a list of the major risk factors for the transmission of HPV in women. That list includes: young age; sexual behavior ? risk increases with increasing lifetime number of male sex partners; early age of first sexual intercourse; and sexual behavior of male sex partners ? the risk increases for women whose sex partners have had multiple sex partners. The CDC also says that an additional risk factor for HPV is oral contraceptive use.

In other words, the most likely person to contract genital HPV is a girl who begins sexual activity at a young age, has sex with a number of boys who have had sex with other girls, and uses oral contraceptives (or similar products).

Given today’s societal fixation on sex, it is no wonder genital HPV has become such a serious problem. The medical community has responded appropriately to this health problem by developing this vaccine. But, as in the case of a number of sexually transmitted diseases, what we really need are lifestyle changes.

A number of years ago, the CDC published a poster dealing with AIDS. It was direct, to the point, and gave a sound message. The headline on the poster read: “There’s a simple way to prevent AIDS.” The subsequent text stated “You want to be risk-free from AIDS? Don’t have sex. And as long as you aren’t shooting drugs, you’ll be fine. No worries about who’s slept around, who’s had blood tests, and whether your condoms are latex or not.”

In other words, the CDC was saying that the best way to prevent AIDS is a lifestyle change. Many people claim this is a na?ve approach, but experience shows it is exactly the right approach. The success of this approach in the nation of Uganda has demonstrated that the real way to diminish AIDS is not through technology, but through lifestyle changes. Uganda emphasized sexual abstinence before marriage and faithfulness to your spouse during marriage. It also aggressively treated those that had already contracted the disease. Its rates of AIDS fell dramatically.

So along with the medical community’s development of a potential HPV vaccine to prevent two of the 30 types of genital HPV, we need to instill in our children the need for a chaste lifestyle. Of course, many children will not want to hear this. They are looking for fun and sexual involvement seems like a fun thing to do. But, if we are really interested in their health, we need to act like parents and adults and tell children what is best for them, not what they want to hear.

It was fascinating that, when it was announced the FDA was reviewing the HPV vaccine, Planned Parenthood Federation of America issued a press release stating, in part:

The HPV vaccine should be a top public health priority for the FDA. It is common sense, good medicine and a groundbreaking step forward in the fight against cancer. Each year, Planned Parenthood provides more than 1,000,000 women with cancer screenings aimed at early detection to keep them safe. Availability of an HPV vaccine would give future generations the promise of health, safety, and peace of mind.


Now this is the same Planned Parenthood that produces literature and maintains a web site that clearly tells our young children it is their choice when to begin having sexual relations. This is the same Planned Parenthood that makes tremendous profits by selling oral contraceptives to pre-teens and young teens while promising “confidentiality.” This is the same Planned Parenthood that is aggressively attacking abstinence-only education programs for our children and tries to dissuade them from making “virginity pledges.”

It appears that Planned Parenthood wants this new HPV vaccine so it can continue leading our children into a destructive lifestyle while giving them a “shot” to avoid some of the complications of that lifestyle.

What makes this whole scenario even more incredible is that we ? you and I ? are paying Planned Parenthood to lead our kids down the path of self-destruction. You see, we have given Planned Parenthood over $3 billion in taxpayer money since 1987. Planned Parenthood uses this money to teach its brand of sex education and to provide oral contraceptives and similar devices to our children ? just the kind of products and lifestyle that the CDC has determined puts our children at the greatest risk of genital HPV infection and cervical cancer.

Something’s wrong here. We should be closing down Planned Parenthood, not subsidizing it with billions of dollars in tax money.

The statistics surrounding HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases are frightening.

Planned Parenthood is even more frightening.

Release issued: 2 Jun 06

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