An eye-catching post title, no? Some interesting results of a study on the HPV vaccine, and a valid point:
The quadrivalent vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, and 18 (Gardasil, Merck & Co) results in statistically significant reductions of HPV-associated genital diseases, such as warts and cervical dysplasia, in young women who receive it, according to the final analysis of 2 randomized placebo-controlled efficacy trials.
The HPV vaccine also statistically significantly reduces Pap test abnormalities, procedures such as colposcopy, and definitive cervical therapy, compared with placebo, report the study authors, led by Nubia Muñoz, MD, from the National Institute of Cancer, in Bogota, Colombia
Dr. Ault suggested that healthcare systems should see a return on their investment in the vaccination in the coming years. In the United States, for example, there are annually “several hundred thousand cases of cervical dysplasia” and “millions of abnormal Pap smears,” he said. “We should see a big reduction in these costly items in the next few years,” Dr. Ault argued, referring to diagnostic and therapeutic care related to such clinical events.
For those of you who don’t live in Ontario, the provincial government has offered the vaccine free on a voluntary basis to Grade 8 girls since September 2007. There was (and is) considerable controversy about the programme, i.e. that teenage girls are suddenly going to run amok because the vaccine “sends the message” condoning teenage sexual activity, an idea wrapped up in some literally mediaeval notions (I use the word in its exact sense) about female sexuality and disease being the wrath of God for sinful behaviour. Funny such attitudes still exist in 2010, yet there it is. I would have to say, on that count, that the evidence of Divine intervention in the form of human papillomavirus is rather lacking. In any case, an example how preventative health care saves money, stops disease and saves lives.