Photo: Getty Images
On the heels of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s derogatory comments regarding the HPV vaccine Gardasil, we face more ignorance on the floor of Congress from Illinois Congressman Randall Hultgren.
The Abstinence-Centered Education Reallocation Act, as it is called, and sponsored by Rep. Hultgren, will put a priority on the sexual risk avoidance message found in abstinence programs. When speaking specifically with regard to the HPV virus, this is not going to prevent a woman’s contracting the virus since she can remain celibate and still contract it from her husband.
Many people are of the misconception that in order to contract HPV one must engage in sexual intercourse. This could not be further from the truth, and this highly contagious virus has been indicated as being spread by inanimate objects as well.
The idea that refraining from sexual involvement until marriage will eliminate the risks for contracting HPV is simply another example of people’s lack of understanding when it comes to this virus. Certainly someone can refrain from sexual intercourse, but this doesn’t mean that it cannot still be transmitted to the woman by her husband.
Research released earlier this year by Dr. Anna Giuliano of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida showed that at least 50 percent of American males have the virus though few show symptoms, which is why it is spread usually without the person’s knowledge.
HPV has been known for decades to be the cause of cervical cancer and in more recent years, also responsible for vaginal, vulvar, anal and penile cancer. Within the past several years a significant increase in oropharyngeal cancers especially affecting men has begun to emerge, all related to high risk HPV strain 16.
Testimony recently given before the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) indicates that at its current rate, these cancers will exceed cervical cancers in the number of annual occurrences.
HPV is considered the most common sexually transmitted infection mainly because of its lack of symptoms, insufficient education on the subject by big government, and diagnoses which often come too late.