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Lack of Political Will Leaves HPV Still Relatively Unknown: An Editorial

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases related image Photo: Getty Images

I recently received a CDC Update which specifically referred to the HPV vaccine and the pathetically low increase in the completion of the three-shot series of only 5.2 percent from 2009 to 2010.

It was the comments of Dr. Anne Schuchat, Asst Secretary General of the CDC that stopped me dead in my tracks. She stated that anyone needing financial help with the vaccine should discuss the VFC (Vaccines for Children Program) with their doctors.

What? Since most people don’t receive CDC Updates, I wondered how she expected people to even know about the VFC Program let alone speak to their doctors about it.

I wrote to the CDC, explaining my long history, my Nobel Laureate (for discovering HPV causes cervical cancer) -endorsed book and my desire to assist in getting those figures up.

I received a very nice response providing a few groups to call, stating that they always had groups calling for speakers and how she was sure they would want to have me as a speaker, in addition to stating that she and her colleagues would love to have a copy (signed if possible) of my book for the CDC Library and Educational Center.

Great, I thought. At least things seemed positive, however there were other comments within the email that made me question a number of things -- like where were all these allocated funds going?

I wondered why Dr. Schuchat believed she was the best spokesperson for HPV when even her own words minimized HPV by limiting its connection only to cervical cancer, instead of educating people on the now six (and counting) cancers attributed to this virus.

I informed them that I had never seen any of the campaign literature claimed to have been produced for either the “teen” program or the one called “Inside Information” intended to educate women on gynecological cancers. What an ironic campaign title since this seems to be exactly how this information has been kept, as inside information.

I also asked why, after years of their HPV website informing the public that 80 percent of adults would have an HPV infection at some time in their lives, did it suddenly (earlier this year) drop dramatically to 50 percent?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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