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How Dangerous is this Misinformation? An Editorial

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In today’s “age of technology” when an email can be sent from New York to California in a matter of seconds and website browsers provide search results in the blink on an eye, just how reliable is this information, particularly when it comes to medical information?

Not until recently have websites started to take advantage of online organizations such as HONcode and a few other sites which offer services to review your site and provide a certificate of compliance which you can then proudly include on your home page. The website is then also required to comply with a specific code of conduct as well.

I’ve noticed that many government sites which are often relied upon heavily by the public for accurate information are not certified by HONcode.

Interesting how one thing can lead to another, as I received a comment to a previous article of mine which commented on Farrah Facett. I mentioned that I was curious as to whether or not she had every had an HPV test. I was rather indignantly informed by this reader, that there was “no such thing as an HPV test” and that even her doctor had told her so.

I wonder sometimes if patients simply are misunderstanding the doctors, but I have received so many of a certain type of comments stated to have been made by doctors that I’m beginning to question that theory. The reader went on to mention that she hoped that others would find this information useful.

There isn’t much usefulness that can be obtained from useless information but it came from her doctor so it must be true. I kindly responded by informing her that she could have done a simple Internet search to have found out otherwise and that neither she nor the doctor were correct.

In the even that there are others like this misguided individual, I’d like to set the record straight. The first HPV test was developed by Digene, a subsidiary of QIAGEN, over ten years ago and is the one most often used today, in conjunction with a woman’s Pap test should it prove to be abnormal.

Subsequently, Cervarix was developed by Hologic and has been approved by the FDA for some years now.

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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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