Vaccine for HPV Effective in Men
July 2nd, 2009
Just ask any anti-gay activist and they’ll tell you: the gays get anal cancer!! In 1997 the anti-gay group Concerned Women for America, in support for their claim that “homosexuality is by its very nature dangerous to those who practice it”, declared
Homosexual men’s practice of anal sex has left many of them victims of anal cancer. One article in the New England Journal of Medicine commented, “Our study lends strong support to the hypothesis that homosexual behavior in men increases the risk of anal cancer: 21 of the 57 men with anal cancer (37 percent) reported that they were homosexual or bisexual, in contrast to only one of 64 controls.”
And even the CDC warns
Gay and bisexual men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than heterosexual men.
You may find this surprising. Looking at your friends you may wonder, “Who has anal cancer here? Why are they keeping this a secret from me?”
Well fear not. Your friends aren’t lying to you. While anal cancer is far more frequent in gay men than heterosexuals (and even more common to HIV politive men), it is still very very rare – and about to become rarer still.
HPV, the human papillomavirus, is sexually transmitted and very common. According to the CDC, “Most sexually active people in the United States (U.S.) will have HPV at some time in their lives.”
Although the virus may never present symptoms, it’s most known for causing genital warts. At any given time 1% of sexually active men in the US have genital warts.
More seriously, a number of cancers have been shown to be associated with HPV including cervical cancer, penile cancer, and anal cancer. Each of these are fairly rare.
The rate of anal cancer in men is 9 out of 100,000. In gay men that rate soars to 35 out of 100,000.
Although 0.035% is hardly the sort of occurrance rathat argues that “homosexuality is by its very nature dangerous”, we should not dismiss or treat lightly the pain and misery brought about by this disease.
Fortunatly there is a vaccine for the type of HPV that causes cancers. It is nearly 100% effective in reducing infection in women. However, the vaccine has not yet been approved for use on men.
A new study may lend support to the vaccination of men as well. (xtra)
“The numbers right now look not quite as good as the girls’ but still very, very good,” says Palefsky. “The vaccine was nearly 100 percent effective [in women] so you obviously can’t do better than that.”
Palefsky says the vaccine would still make an effective preventative health tool for everyone because the same strains of HPV that cause most cervical cancers in women also cause a majority of anal cancers in men.
“They’re entirely the same,” he says. “That’s why we’re optimistic that if boys do get vaccinated with the same vaccine that girls are using, it should prevent a substantial number of anal cancers.”
Conservatives have opposed the application of this vaccine for girls under the logic that it presumes that their little Suzy is going to be a promiscuous slut. And since they are good Christians kids wearing their purity ring they will never be exposed to a sexually transmitted virus. (In my experience, Christian kids tend to experience miracle babies – those who show up fully devoloped and health about seven months after a rapidly planned wedding.)
We can expect an even higher level of objection to vaccinating little Johnny who is undoubtedly going to give up his desire to be church organist when he grows up, develops an interest in sports, and marries a nice Christian girl.
But as a matter of policy, every child in the country should be vaccinated, regardless of sex. I care about Suzy and Johnny’s heath even if their parents do not.