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August 09, 2007

Gag Order: MSM Chokes Off Reporting Oral Sex-Cancer Connection

At least that's what this CNS article claims.

Scare tactics? You bet. But as a result [of scary anti-smoking ads], says The New York Times, thousands of New Yorkers have quit the habit. The campaign, created in Massachusetts, was praised by public health officials in both states. The implication? The ends justify the means.

I'm with The New York Times on this one. When it comes to prevention of a life-threatening illness, you remove the kid gloves and tell it like it is.

Then why, I wonder, do we hear nothing of another widespread behavior associated with malignant tumors of the mouth and throat?

The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported that cancer of the tonsils and base of the tongue are rising annually, and the evidence that oral HPV infection can cause these tumors is "compelling." Having more than five oral-sex partners increased the risk of these malignancies by 250 percent.

The Journal's conclusion: "The widespread oral sex practices among adolescents may be a contributing factor in this increase."

...

What to do? The scientists contend: Because these oral cancers occur in both sexes, and are associated with the same HPV strains targeted by the new vaccine, we now have a reason to vaccinate both boys and girls.

Was that Merck's stock I just heard go through the roof? Or was it the sound of lawmakers clamoring to legislate mandatory vaccinations of all fourth graders against an STI?

Sure, the vaccine is a formidable biotechnological feat. But it provides incomplete protection, it has unknowns, and costs $360 per child.

Why then is the solution to risky behavior a vaccine, and not behavioral change?

Because radical liberalism permeates the field of sexual health, and to the Left, smoking is a loathsome evil, while casual sex is empowering and fun.

As we contemplate this calamity, I have a suggestion for health educators: Stop encouraging our children to "explore" and "experiment" with sexuality. Replace that message with a hearty dose of scare tactics, a la [commercials featuring a tracheotomy patient].

The trouble with this analogy is that if there were a throat-cancer vaccine, yes, we'd be immunizing everyone, not merely broadcasting scare-tactics ads.

I have a couple of other problems here, too. One, I'm not really ready to buy every cancer linkage a study suggests. We've seen an awful lot of them. In this case, there seems to be a better linkage (we know the HPV can cause cancer), but still, we need to be a bit skeptical about studies before treating them as facts we ought to be basing policy decisions on.

The other problem is the general tendency of a lot of people to seize upon a study and proclaim it proves the rectitude of their preconceived policy agenda. I've got no problem with telling kids not to have sex of any kind -- unlike liberals, I'm not big on pandering to them in order to seem "cool" by treating them as the adults they're simply, you know, not -- but I also don't really get this idea of not also protecting against HPV, relying on "education" and restraint to protect us.

I've got more faith in medicine than state education programs and human restraint.

Thanks to Nordbuster.


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posted by Ace at 03:40 PM

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