Honey I shrunk the HPV

The rate of HPV (Human Papillomavirus) infection among young girls dropped by more than half, 56%, since mass immunizations of young girls (and now young boys) against the cancer-causing virus began in 2006, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

According to the National Cancer Institute, various strains of the sexually-transmitted HPV virus (there are many) cause `virtually all` cervical cancers, `most` (85% of) anal cancers, more than half of all oropharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancers, and half of vaginal, penile and cancers.

(There`s also been a particularly large increase in HPV-caused oropharyngeal cancers in men over the past few decade: `The incidence of HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer has increased during the past 20 years, especially among men. It has been estimated that, by 2020, HPV will cause more oropharyngeal cancers than cervical cancers in the United States`.)

Not every infection of even the `right` strain will lead to cancer, but `infections that last for many years increase a person’s risk of developing cancer,` according to the National Cancer Institute.

1/3 of girls have gotten HPV vaccine, yet still infections have plummeted

Routine immunizations of girls aged 11 and 12 began in late 2006.  By 2012, only 32% of 13 to 17 year old girls had been vaccinated, but still they found that new HPV infections decreased 56% among girls age 14 to 19.  This data is for 2010.  Now, three years later, the data could be ever better.

While initially all the talk about HPV was about women (because of its link to cervical cancer), it is now recommended that young boys get the shot as well.

It is assumed that you will be infected by many strains of HPV in your lifetime – there are over 150 of them – but only 4 of the strains are linked to most of the cancers detailed above (though NCI notes that there are at least 12 strains which can cause caner).  Because you will likely begin your exposure to HPV when you become sexually active (nearly 80 million American are infected with HPV, according to a recent study), experts recommend getting the vaccines before that time.

Gay men should consider getting vaccinated against HPV

As I`ve written before, I spoke to a top expert in the field about a year ago who recommended that I, a gay man in my 40s, get the vaccine.

The expert I spoke with said that at my age, as a single gay man, it was likely that I had not yet been infected with all 4 (and even less likely, all 12) of the `bad` strains, and thus taking the vaccination regimen (three shots over a period of six months) was recommended.

Having said that, for someone my age, insurance may not cover the shots – mine did not – which can cost nearly $200 a shot (three are needed to provide full immunity).

GOP pushes lie that HPV vaccine is `dangerous` – experts say that`s false

The HPV vaccine has been controversial among some conservatives who feared its use would provide a license for children to have sex.  Studies have shown no cause and effect.  And in any case, condemning your child to death is not a reasonable manner in which to preach abstinence.  But that didn`t stop Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who ran for governor of Texas against Rick Perry, from cutting an ad targeting Perry for his support of HPV immunizations in Texas:

But of course the most famous HPV-denialist is none other than our beloved Michele Bachmann, who claimed that the HPV vaccine was linked to `mental retardation` in children. It`s not. Though clearly it can lead to some idiocy in adults.

Michele-Bachmann-doma supreme court

Here`s Bachmann pushing her lies that the HPV vaccine is `potentially very dangerous` – the fact-checkers say that`s false – the discussion starts about 50 seconds into this NBC video, and of course Matt Lauer just lets Bachmann get away with pushing the lie, unchallenged:

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • bejammin075

    It would be worthwhile to videotape Republicans response to a question “Since the HPV vaccine is effectively reducing rates of cancer, and thus saving lives, the HPV vaccine is in fact PRO LIFE, is it not?”

  • I have several Ganesha’s around the home, but for stories, give me the trickster!

  • BillFromDover

    Shhhhhh… this is all supposed to be Koran talking points!

    Nobody is supposed to know that a vengeful God smoted and smited His way throughout pretty much the entire Old Testament as the Baby Jesus loves us all.

  • BillFromDover

    Well… hello, Jezebels!

  • BillFromDover

    Nah… here’s a bona fide miracle:


    She was allegedly cured after her family, not she prayed to the Pope’s memory, The Telegraph reports.

    Got that? Allegedly cured? And after praying to a memory floating around in whatever dimension that only the combined power of Zeus and Thor can discern?

    This and a good card trick should put him on the fast track to the right hand of God!

    How absolutely fucking sad is it that the Catholic Church must now resort to bullshit like this to canonize one of their own?

  • :-)

  • Mine is Ganesha. Destroyer of obstacles, scholar of lore and informatoin… but always takes out time to dance, drink, and have a good time.

  • Hey, I had no idea there was a problem with the site because no one emailed me until now ;l) Please email me in the future when it looks like the site is broken – on my end, it’s been updating fine. I just cleared the main cache for the site, though have no idea if that’s helping. Can you please try again, and perhaps email me at contact at americablog dot com and tell me if it’s working – also try cleaning our the cache on your web browser, then checking the pages again. Thanks

  • It was working briefly for me a little while ago, after I cleared my cache and reloaded the page, but now it’s back to being stuck on this article as the newest article again.

  • lynchie

    John this is the latest posting something is wrong with disqus. or your web site.

  • pappyvet

    Excellent ! What annoys me about people like Bachman is their terror tactics while trying desperately to appear as if they have scientific knowledge. But the bottom line is that it doesn’t agree with their mythology.

  • green_libertarian


    Let the bodies hit the floor.


  • green_libertarian

    Hey John, here’s the “battle plan” by the bigots to attempt to stop marriage equality by heavy psychological manipulation (big surprise there!)

    Everybody needs to keep an eye out when we start seeing the chumps start using the methods proscribed in this “report”.


    Younger Americans—particularly “Millennials” under age 35—have shifted decidedly in favor of abolishing marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. This generation will shape America to 2050 and beyond. For this generation, the arguments of marriage revisionists have not been countered. Better arguments from natural law, while necessary and helpful, are unlikely to turn the tide of opinion because many people are not convinced rationally in the frst place: television, songs, friends, and their own experiences shape their understanding of love and marriage. In short,
    we are shaped by unconscious influences, social and personal narratives, and emotion.
    This paper explores fndings from a growing body of research from cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and narrative theory to inform how to take a more sophisticated approach to communicating in the marriage debate. It ofers new opportunities for understanding, developing, and using persuasion informed by cognitive science and narrative theory to advance traditional marriage and counter marriage revisionism. …

    H/T The American Conservative Magazine, they’re mostly gay marriage friendly in a libertarian sort of way, but there’s some strong Christianists that are hell-bent against marriage equality.

  • Hanuman, the monkey god, is my absolute favorite for storytime…

  • My religion defies firm categorization. A little originalist Christianity (i.e. only the books MMLP, and none of that loony Paul/Saul of Tarsus’s judgmental rants). A bit of Hinduism because I love the stories and how there’s a god for every need. But mostly it’s Buddhism, Wicca, and a big dose of gladly embraced agnosticism.

  • pappyvet

    I am A Pagan by choice and personality, these later day male dominated hate religions really annoy and also amuse but Christianity is so curious because of a lot of reasons. Not the least is that for a Religion So opposed To Paganism they sure stole A lot Of Our Stuff.

  • JayRandal

    When that witch finally departs Congress everybody should throw rotten tomatoes at her.

  • Solution to gop pigs paranoid delusions: Make sure the pigs of the gop and their abomination offsprings do NOT get the vaccination and eventually they all will die off.

  • Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

  • BillFromDover

    (11) Amputees healed by God?

  • BillFromDover

    How sad is it that an adolescent girl that has sex (perhaps for the 1st time), be forced not only to carry her pregs to fruition, perhaps against her will, but suffer – and more than likely die – from cervical cancer because in the eyes of some Bible thumpers, she is a fucking slut and deserves to suffer for the sins of her ways?

    Oh, and you guys, feel free to go out and infect some more as society has a different standard for you.

    How some parents can condemn their own flesh and blood to (sometimes) certain death over their own religious beliefs is something that I will never understand!

  • “Yes, but teenaged girls might will have sex!!!”

    There, fixed it for ya.

  • Shlomo Abrin

    This about sums it up. If religionistas would refuse to get the vaccines and rely on their gods, it would still hurt the rest of us, but at least it would be a choice. They want everyone to go without.

  • Indigo

    Even the Jebusites?

  • Thom Allen

    Just checked with Planned Parenthood in this area. For someone who has insurance that won’t cover shots Planned Parenthood would require an initial office visit to evaluate and order the shots. Out of pocket cost, max would be about $125. And that INCLUDES the first shot. Subsequent shots max cost would be $70 each regardless of how high your income is. OV and shots could be lower to much lower, depending on income.

  • Thom Allen

    If your insurance won’t cover HPV shots you might want to check with your county health department. They may offer them at lower cost than going to your PCP or clinic. Also, Planned Parenthood offers HPV shots, cost based on income. So they may be able to give them to you at a lower rate than your PCP, as well.

  • or spend the weekend in a drunk tank

  • Good for you, sweetie

  • Thom Allen

    Hivites? OMG! HIVites? People of HIV? Like HIV positive people? Now the Evilvangelicals will have a real biblical justification to hate gays. ;^)

  • Bingo!

  • Channeling my inner Delphi again Blue.

  • To get a true sense of the horror that is rape watch the movie ‘Flowers of War’ sometime. (Netflicks)

  • The only good thing that remained in post Marxist Bolshevism was the destruction of religion. Unfortunately those ignorant and dark forces just reconstituted themselves into State Stalinism.

  • I’m not sure stupidity can ever be regulated by the FDA.

  • GoBlue

    Or end up mentally retarded. Just ask “Dr.” Bachmann.

  • cole3244

    i don’t know about hpv but whatever drives bachmann into her fits of idiocy must be banned from the fda’s safe list, or maybe just label it as bat shit crazy and let the buyer beware.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    That’s why there is no such thing as rape – a decent woman would rather die than be defiled.

  • BlueIdaho

    Oh I love how you speak the truth!

  • Neither is smallpox. Must be a miracle.

  • UncleBucky

    Always the religionists… Always the religionists…

    The world is not made the way that the Medieval mind understood it to be…

    And we might pay dearly for the delusions that religion force on us, both individually and communally.

  • When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you (1). If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it (2). As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies (3). This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby (4).

    However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes (5). Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you (6). Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God (7).

    – Deuteronomy, 20:10-18

    (1) Enslave everyone who surrenders.
    (2) If they resisted the siege at all, slaughter all adult male prisoners.
    (3) Enslave everybody remaining and take all their possessions.
    (4) Go to war with all the distant cities, as it’s fun and profitable.
    (5) Commit genocide. Seriously, kill everything, go nuts.
    (6) No really. Here’s your To Do list for the genocide.
    (7) If you don’t do all this killing, enslaving, and genocide, these enemies will corrupt your faith in Me, and I’ll be very annoyed.

  • Republicans are terrorists. They take after their god.

  • These gophers cry to the high heavens, arms waving to the Mr. God about pro life and simultaneously demote women to the status of farm animals they can control, use at will and kill off if suitable.

  • Bachmann is just not some congeniality misinformed ideologue, but a viciously ignorant and evil presence.

  • That’s exactly what it is. And as Liz says below, the whole point is to punish women for having sex — even if it is against their own will.

    Opposing the HPV vaccine is just the one short step beyond the starting position that says using contraceptives is somehow morally wrong and access should be denied to women and girls. And it’s why they won’t even acknowledge the millions of women who take contraceptive medication for reasons totally unrelated to preventing pregnancy, as I did for nearly two decades. As we’ve seen in the last couple of years, it’s also why the latest batch of anti-abortion bills don’t even include exceptions for the life of the pregnant woman or girl.

    It’s all about the patriarchy and the ongoing attempts to re-subjugate women, to turn us back into chattel property, one step at a time. They want us to be afraid that having sex will kill us — either through a pregnancy gone horribly wrong, or through cancer caused by HPV.

  • Be sure to do something good and soul-nourishing for yourself afterwards, Pappyvet. You’re going to need an antidote for the hate.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Science works, religion kills.

  • pappyvet

    Watching the Matthew Shepard story…. it’s ….

  • Jafafa Hots

    Oh sure, it may work and all, but which would you rather have – a dead “spiritually pure” daughter, or a live HUSSY HARLOT STRUMPET SINNER?!?!?

    Always remember – death is preferable to sex!

  • TheOriginalLiz

    The GOP is very much the party of “Men play, women pay”

  • Funny, a vaccination doing what vaccinations are supposed to do? You don’t say. Next you’re going to tell me that polio isn’t around much any more.

  • Drew2u

    Related: http://www.healio.com/pediatrics/vaccine-preventable-diseases/news/online/%7B58995606-1096-4FCA-BF2D-1150D173D876%7D/Measles-outbreak-affects-56-people-in-New-York

    “All cases involve adults and children aged 0 to 32 years who were not
    vaccinated because of refusal or delays in vaccination. There have been
    two hospitalizations and no deaths reported.”

  • Sweetie

    As far as I know, there are around 12-16 harmful varieties and even getting both vaccines in combination won’t protect one from all of them. Also, neither vaccine applies to exactly the same set of strains. I think one of the two covers fewer than the other. I haven’t looked into this in quite a few years, so my facts are a bit hazy. Still, it’s better to be vaccinated than to not be vaccinated!

  • Gary Harmer

    Pretty much shoots a hole in bachmann and palindromes theory now doesn’t it! Not to mention the whole of the “rights” bs.

  • Monoceros Forth

    And in any case, condemning your child to death is not a reasonable manner in which to preach abstinence.

    And that’s really what it comes down to when we’re fed the “sex should have consequences” line. It’s not enough that having sex in the wrong way should be punished morally or spiritually. It’s necessary for the wrong sort of sex to result in the ruin of one’s life, or even the loss of it–and the state should abandon its duty to care for public health in order to ensure this punishment.
    As for Bachmann’s crap…well, it’s not like crazy claims about the dangers of vaccination are exactly a right-wing exclusive.

  • pappyvet

    Apparently a bunch of tortured then dead teens is a price THEY are willing for US to pay for their mythology

  • HKAnders

    Yes, but teenaged girls might have sex!!!!

  • Indigo

    One of my best buddies passed away several years ago from the HPV. Get the shot, gay guys all!

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