Gardasil: One Less

recipient:

Real Simple/ PO Box 64523/ Tampa, FL 33664-4523

sent:

BBC “Gay Men Seek ‘Female Cancer’ Jab” article

reasoning:

i just got my 3rd and last shot of Gardasil. i am now protected against certain types of HPV, particularly the strains that have been shown to cause cervical cancer. woo. i didn’t actively seek out the vaccine, it was one i had definitely heard of, these “one less” commercials are on constant play if you turn on the TV, but it was something i didn’t think i needed. and while vaccines have done a lot of good, i’m wary that soonwe’ll be vaccinating ourselves against everything in the world, and simply start a new series of bacteria, germs and illnesses. i went in to get a physical in january, and my doctor immediately advised that i should start on the gardasil track. i knew that SL had done it and she said it was painful and expensive. but dr. madden assured me that it was now covered by insurance – it was a huge fight that doctors took on against the insurance companies, “how can you deny people something that could potentially save their lives?” i was still a bit hesitant, but the doctor was insistent. i was also somewhat convinced when she said, “how amazing is it that we’ve developed a vaccine against a cancer? think about the implications that soon we’ll have something for every cancer, and no one will have to suffer.” unfortunately, the first shot hurt like hell, and committed me for 6 months to this new health and scientific experiment that i wasn’t necessarily ready for or on board with.

i’ve been fairly ambivalent with needles, i don’t mind them as long as i don’t watch the doctor stab it into my arm. vaccines are something you just have to get to be healthy, it’s commonly mainstream and accepted. but in these past 6 months, i’ve become hesitant and distrusting of the Gardasil shot and Dr. Madden. Did she push it on me so valiantly, and medically hopefully, to collect the money and get more free samples from the Gardasil producers?

I might still get HPV because there are more than 40 different strains of it. and that’s just one of the points of contention. the vaccine has been heavily, heavily targeted towards young females, preferably around the age when sexual activity starts, because of the cervical cancer link, but men can also get HPV. shouldn’t the shot be given to them as well, so they don’t carry it, and unknowingly pass it on to others? here, this BBC article brings up a particularly interesting point that men, particularly gay men, are seeking the vaccine to help protect them. and why not? they are just as susceptible to HPV-related diseases. the controversy comes up because Gardasil is originally targeted to preventing cervical cancer, something that only happens in women.  if men are hosts of HPV, shouldn’t prevention begin with the carriers? SL compared it as boys trying to get birth control because it helps clear up acne. certainly medicines have been used by many for not their intended purposes, but positive side effects, so how far should experimentation, testing and vaccines be spread? suddenly the view i had of ensuring everyone is healthy at any cost (universal healthcare) seems too simplistic.

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