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HPV, Insurance, Discrimation, Viagra

By February 24, 2009 - 4:58pm
 
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I was wondering why insurance companies will pay for a man to have viagra, or other enhancing medicaitons, but they will not pay for an HPV vaccine to women over a certain age?

I contracted HPV in my 40's, just recently got a clean bill of health, but had a cervical cancer scare, many biopsies and mental anguish. I found out that the reason I was not offered a vaccine after my divorce, at age 42 was because not enough studies have been done to prove that the vaccine would be helpful......WHAT?

Does anyone else see the hypocrasy here! I nearly blew a gaskit at the office....but who is listening?

Would love some persepctive!

Kayte

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With respect to the comments above about Gardasil causing cancer, this is not the case at all. Unlike some vaccines which are created through attentuation (weakening) of the virulence (disease producing capability) of an organism, the Gardasil vaccine is not created this way. It contains what are called VLP's or virus like particles. There is no HPV DNA contained within the vaccine from which to contract HPV or cancer. The vaccine has only been on the market for 3 years so of course long term studies dont' exist yet. However a long term study is currenlty underway by Merck expected to last over an 11 year period.

As for insurance paying for the vaccine, if your insurance does not pay for the vaccine Kayte, you should contact Merck. They have a department to deal with insurance companies over this issue. They also have a patient rebate program of up to $130 per shot.

Merck has already applied to the FDA for approval of the vaccine to be used in women up to age 45 (up from age 26 currently). This request was denied by the FDA. The FDA does have the Gardasil request for use in boys and young men on the fast track as of March of this year, and until they start vaccinating the boys/men, we women will continue to be at risk for asymptomatic transmission. Gardasil has shown (in a study of over 4,000 young men that it reduces genital warts (from low risk HPV) and precancerous lesions (high risk HPV) by 90%. The vaccine is already approved in for men in 40 other countries. I have heard that some doctors will prescribe it "off label" however this would definitely not be covered by insurance in those cases of women over 26 or in men at all at this point.

As for the downplaying of cervical cancer, it is still the second leading cause of death worldwide among women. Unfortunately there are many websites containing information relating to HPV which is incomplete, erroneous and/or misleading. Most doctors are not well informed about HPV and therefore inadequately counsel their patients regarding the potential risks.

Melissa also mentioned that HPV can and will go away on its own. This is also misleading. While the virus can be kept asymptomatic by the bodys immune system it does not go away in the sense of being cured. Once you contract the virus you will always have the virus though it may be dormant for months, years or decades. Studies have shown the highest prevelence is among younger women up to age 25, a drop off from age 35 to 54 and a peak again after age 55 so I'm not sure where her data about women over 60 not having HPV comes from.

If you want reliable site certified info on HPV you can check my profile and visit my site.

May 9, 2009 - 11:20am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It's important to realize that Gardasil (the HPV vaccine that's available right now) only helps to prevent 4 types of HPV. It's recommended for girls ages 11-26 because those are the only ages that have been tested. What they don't tell you, though, is that those tests only used a few thousand women and didn't last long enough to test the REAL effects of this vaccine (4 years was the longest amount of time tested). Also, the control group wasn't all given a true placebo. The tests surrounding this vaccine are tenuous at best, and the government is being really hasty in recommending it for little girls. Did you know that Texas requires all girls entering 6th grade to get this vaccine now? How do we know that, in 10 years, this vaccine won't be CAUSING cancer?

On the other hand, something like 75% of Americans ages 18-30 have HPV now, and it can be spread even with condoms. There's no easy answer here.

March 1, 2009 - 10:48am
(reply to Anonymous)

Best answer :)

March 1, 2009 - 5:43pm

Wow, Melissa. You should really check the CDC website before you go playing down the cervical cancer that is caused by HPV. In 2005, 3,924 women died of cervical cancer. 3,924 women was 33% of the women diagnosed with the disease. I guess you think a 33% mortality rate and few thousand women dying from a disease caused by a virus that we have a vaccine for isn't that big of a deal. I suppose you also think that any woman diagnosed with and killed by cervical cancer probably deserved it. After all, they should have just gone to their gyno more often. And as for simply "getting any cell growth removed," you are aware that removing cells from the cervix can endanger a woman's ability to carry a child to term I hope. Since you don't seem to have actually read anything on the subject, let me fill you in on something: 4 of 10 women diagnosed with cervical cancer have had Pap tests. The problem is the Pap test is not perfect. I agree that the vaccine should be tested for older women; most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer are over 30.
I suggest you read http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/
I also suggest you let doctor fill any daughters you may have in on the dangers of HPV. They really shouldn't be misinformed on the subject.

February 28, 2009 - 1:25pm
(reply to yoda80who)

I was just simply trying to stay positive. She still had a fighting chance.

Thanks!! :)

March 1, 2009 - 5:43pm

not tht many people die from it, you just have to keep getting checks up and getting any cell growth removed..

February 26, 2009 - 6:11pm

statics prove that ppl over 60 years of age do not have HPV even when they did have it in their younger years. maybe thats why insurance doesn't pay, b/c it can and will go away on its own.

February 26, 2009 - 11:57am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to mellisa)

Yes, I guess that's true, unless all those who had it have already died from cervical cancer before they even make it to 60.

February 26, 2009 - 12:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It certainly seems like they should investigate the efficacy of the vaccine for older women. But until they do, I'm sure that doctors won't/can't recommend it for older women. I think that the problem is the constraints that FDA puts around patient choices.

February 25, 2009 - 6:23pm

I remember reading that the vaccine isn't recommended for women after a certain age because scientists haven't done enough studies to know how safe it is in an older woman's body. I have no idea why no one has bothered to do these studies, because yes, we middle-aged women can contract HPV too. (Maybe they assume we're all happily married and monogamous or else in a convent.....)

February 24, 2009 - 5:15pm
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