Monday, September 26, 2011

So wedding-day virgins deserve to die of cancer?

Pandagon reports that yes indeed there are some misconceptions about HPV out there, namely that anyone who contracts it must be a 'person of loose morals' and that by preventing one of the consequences of extra-marital sex by vaccinating against HPV, all we really accomplish is that we give permission for our tender teenage girls to grow up to be a 'person of loose morals.'

What's not said, of course, is that HPV is far more prevalent than one might expect.  It's not just prostitutes and twelve-year-old non-virgins who get it.  Practically everyone who has sex contracts it at some point, usually asymptomatic, and with no long-term consequences. You can be a wedding-day virgin marrying a man who's had consensual sex with just one other person, and whoops, you've got HPV, but you'll never know it. But to hear religious conservatives like Thomas Peters tell it, you now deserve to die of cancer because you didn't follow the rules properly.

HPV is like the common cold in terms of severity. Most people are fine, but a percentage of people get sicker and die. That's why we vaccinate against the flu, and why we should vaccinate against HPV. But that doesn't mean we need to have some society-wide panic about the flu. Just get the shot and get on with your life. Sheesh. The only reason to freak out about HPV---and about the vaccine---is that we can't handle the fact that people fuck. Even though pretty much everyone fucks. It's bizarre, it really is.

No comments: