Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Catholic Board says NO to mandatory vacination for HPV

The Headline in the Trinidad Newsday newspaper says: VACCINATION STOPPED. The Article written by Janelle DeSouza dated Wednesday, January 30 2013 speaks of the Catholic School Board making issue of the administering of the vaccine for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

THE Ministry of Health yesterday announced the suspension of the administering of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination to girls in primary and secondary schools, through the ministry’s school-based immunisation programme.
This came on the heels of opposition from the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) and revelations that other denominational boards were not properly informed of the vaccination drive and were not willing to allow vaccination to take place on their school compounds.
 But what do we know about the Human Pailloma Virus. Here is what Wiki says about it.... or them:
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus from the papillomavirus family that is capable of infecting humans. Like all papillomaviruses, HPVs establish productive infections only in keratinocytes of the skin or mucous membranes. While the majority of the known types of HPV cause no symptoms in most people, some types can cause warts (verrucae), while others can – in a minority of cases – lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, oropharynx and anus. Recently, HPV has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, HPV 16 and 18 infections are strongly associated with an increased odds ratio of developing oropharyngeal (throat) cancer.

More than 30 to 40 types of HPV are typically transmitted through sexual contact and infect the anogenital region. Some sexually transmitted HPV types may cause genital warts. Persistent infection with "high-risk" HPV types — different from the ones that cause skin warts — may progress to precancerous lesions and invasive cancer.HPV infection is a cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer.However, most infections with these types do not cause disease.
Most HPV infections in young females are temporary and have little long-term significance. Seventy percent of infections are gone in 1 year and ninety percent in 2 years.However, when the infection persists — in 5% to 10% of infected women — there is high risk of developing precancerous lesions of the cervix, which can progress to invasive cervical cancer. This process usually takes 10–15 years, providing many opportunities for detection and treatment of the pre-cancerous lesion. Progression to invasive cancer can be almost always prevented when standard prevention strategies are applied, but the lesions still cause considerable burden necessitating preventive surgeries, which do in many cases involve loss of fertility.
In more developed countries, cervical screening using a Papanicolaou (Pap) test or liquid-based cytology is used to detect abnormal cells that may develop into cancer. If abnormal cells are found, women are invited to have a colposcopy. During a colposcopic inspection, biopsies can be taken and abnormal areas can be removed with a simple procedure, typically with a cauterizing loop or, more commonly in the developing world — by freezing (cryotherapy). Treating abnormal cells in this way can prevent them from developing into cervical cancer.
Pap smears have reduced the incidence and fatalities of cervical cancer in the developed world, but even so there were 11,000 cases and 3,900 deaths in the U.S. in 2008. Cervical cancer has substantial mortality in resource-poor areas; worldwide, there are an estimated 490,000 cases and 270,000 deaths each year.

HPV vaccines (Cervarix and Gardasil), which prevent infection with the HPV types (16 and 18) that cause 70% of cervical cancer, may lead to further decreases.
Wikipedia has a few things to say about Gardasil:
 Since Gardasil will not block infection with all of the HPV types that can cause cervical cancer, the vaccine should not be considered a substitute for routine pap smears.

 Merck (the manufacturer of Gardasil) was denied FDA approval to market Gardasil to women aged 27 to 45. Although it was found to be safe and effective in the prevention of genital warts, it was not effective in the prevention of cervical cancer in that age group.
There has been controversy over the side effects of the drug, however there is another reason that the US state bodies have taken issue with Gardisil: (again Wiki):
Medical groups, politicians and parents began rebelling after disclosure of a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign by Gardasil's maker, Merck & Co., to get state legislatures to require 11- and 12-year-old girls to get the three-dose vaccine as a requirement for school attendance.

Objections from doctors and parents groups were due to the vaccine protecting against a sexually transmitted disease, human papilloma virus, which causes cervical cancer. They cited that vaccines mandated are typically for diseases spread through casual contact, such as measles and mumps. On February 20, 2007, Merck announced its immediate suspension of this campaign, which had been funded through a third party.

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