{This may not be the format for all the vaccine posts, & I may not go into as much detail – or for some, maybe more – for all the posts.}

*** Helpful tip when reading this post: There are links scattered throughout the post. If you hover over the link with your mouse for a moment, a description of where it leads will show up. If you click the link, it will open in a new tab. ***

HPV = Human Papilloma Virus

The Vaccines:
Currently given at age 11 or 12 to girls.
{Before sexual activity begins.}

+ Gardasil : designed to protect against HPV types 6, 11, 16, & 18. {Less than 4% of all the types}
Licensed in 2006 for females, & 2009 for males.
Made by Merck.
Contains 225 mcg of aluminum. {Approx. per dose}
3 doses.

+ Cervarix
Designed to protect against 2 of the most common types: 16 & 18
Made by GSK.
Contains 500 mcg of aluminum. {Per dose}
3 doses.

The HPV Basics:
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease.
There are more than 100 types/subtypes of HPV.
Some forms cause warts {Papilloma}.
Some forms can cause abnormal cell growth {Cervical Dysplasia} that, years later, can turn into cancer.
HOWEVER, in more than 90 percent of all cases, the infections are harmless and go away, without treatment. Most often, women experience absolutely no symptoms, signs, or health problems.
The vaccine is stated to protect against the virus linked to half of the types cervical cancers.

Who’s at risk?
Those most at risk include: sexually active people who have multiple partners/have sex with someone who has had many partners.
Average age of women when initially diagnosed with cervical cancer: 48 years.
“New cervical cancer cases & deaths are uncommon under the age of 35 & nearly nonexistent under the age of 20.” – Who quoted?

How serious is it?
(Per 100,000, in the US:)
In 1975, 14.8 women contracted cervical cancer, 5.6 died from it.
By 2004, 7 contracted it, 2.4 died from it.
Women under the age of 50 have a 5.4 ‘incidence rate’ & a 1.3 death rate.
When detected early, even invasive cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treated.
Cervical cancer is not as common as other types of cancer:
In 2003, there were 14.4 cases of skin cancer {again, per 100,000}.
Colon, lung & breast cancer were even higher.
Statistically, women are almost 15 times more likely to get breast cancer than cervical cancer.

How safe are the vaccines?
In Feb. 2010, only 44 months after Gardasil was licensed in the US, more than 17,500 adverse reports were filed.
{Note: That’s 13 cases per day. And that’s reports filed because the symptoms were recognized as a result of the vaccine, and were severe enough to be reported.}
Almost half of all reports required a doctor/ER visit, with 100s of teenage girls having extended hospital stays.
61 deaths were included in those reports.
As well as paralysis, seizures, convulsions, swollen limbs, miscarriages, genital warts, reproductive complications, etc.

According to Dr. Diane Harper {director of the Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at the University of Missouri}:
“The rate of serious adverse events from Gardasil is greater than the incidence rate of cervical cancer.”

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder that causes muscle weakness & paralysis, “has been reported after vaccination with Gardasil. There is no evidence suggesting that Gardasil causes or raises the risk of GBS. Additionally, there have been rare reports of blood clots forming in the heart, lungs and legs.”

{Side note: Guillain-Barré Syndrome is one of the more common complications following many vaccines that “are not caused by” the vaccines given prior to the onset of the muscle & facial paralysis.}

How effective?
Researchers have identified nearly 15 cancer-causing strains of HPV.
These vaccines claim to be 100% effective in protecting against 2-4.
However, the studies & trials haven’t been long-term enough to determine with certainty – 4-6 years, maximum, currently.

Other noteworthy facts:
+ Studies showed an increase in birth defects when women became pregnant within one month of getting the vaccine.
+ Abstinence {aka: being sexually ‘inactive’} is completely effective against HPV.
+ There’s uncertainty about how long the vaccine is legitimately “effective.” Right now, they canonly say four years.
{So vaccinating an 11 year old who might not become sexually active until she’s 17 might be completely ineffective, they’re not sure yet.}
+  Merck made more than $400 million in ONE QUARTER of 2008.
+ The vaccine is now being targeted {as of 2009} not only for girls age 9-26, but for boys as well.
{Take a look at the Gardasil website for a peek into the “Oneless” Gardasil ad campaign.}

Just to reiterate – it has been incredibly difficult to sift through all the information, articles, reports & statistics & share various parts. I really think that the best thing {if you’re serious about the research & information} is to do some serious research yourself.

There will be resources listed for every post, they are great starting points for research.

+ “Make an Informed Vaccine Decision for the Health of Your Child” by Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD
+ “The Vaccine Book” by Robert Sears, MD
+ National Cancer Institute
+ American Cancer Society
+ CDC, cervical cancer statistics, US Cancer statistics, VAERS database {& more}.
+ Merck & Co., Gardasil product insert, Annual Reports & Financials {Various locations online & offline.}
+ Wikipedia article on Gardasil vaccine.
+ Wikipedia article on HPV vaccine.
+ GlaxoSmithKline, Cervarix Product Insert.

Our thoughts & conclusions:
I haven’t & won’t be getting this vaccine. We don’t plan to have our daughter get this vaccine.

I watch shows on Hulu, & I remember seeing commercial after commercial within the past year, very intensely marketing this vaccine.
I remember seeing the first one about 20 times & every time it would come on, I’d forget & think, “Cool commercial, what’s this going to be for?” Then it would be super intense & I’d always be shocked. And if I was easily swayed by good advertising, I’m sure I’d let it sink in.

Last week, I was watching Grey’s Anatomy, & there was one story line that continued through the whole episode of this guy who came in with HPV – with warts covering his whole body & strange things growing out of his hands, etc.
They had to do a pretty serious operation on him & his wife left him & all sorts of absolute chaos because of this disease, the effects of which are never as severe as portrayed on this show.

I would’ve completely overlooked it if this hadn’t been on my mind because of all the research.
There are actual blogs advising girls to get the HPV vaccine in response to this episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Never mind, of course, that the vaccine doesn’t protect against the strain of HPV that causes those outrageous symptoms.

{I couldn’t help but take a moment to think & wonder to myself about who might have paid for that write-in to the story.}

{Side note: we don’t have cable. I watch 5 shows online, on Hulu, after their air date. Grey’s Anatomy is one that I started watching last season. John hates it. He won’t watch it with me.}

This is the advertisement I am referring to, watch it:

Here are some other interesting ones:
+ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxr2k_ALaXk
+ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmyhLg9Fbis&NR=1

More vaccine posts coming soon. {Not sure how soon, though.}
I may come back to these posts & add updates as the research continues.
Thanks for bearing with me.

Just a reminder, I want to hear your thoughts & feedback on this.
And I would love to have resources & articles if you’ve got them to share.

6 thoughts on “HPV”

  1. I completely agree with you about not getting the HPV vaccine. I had HPV about 4 years ago and never knew I had it until my yearly pap smear. It didn’t cause any negative side effects, and she biopsied some cells on my cervix and there was no evidence of cancer. I went back in six months and it had completely gone away on its own. And my doctor still tried to push me to get the vaccine! I couldn’t believe how pushy she was about it, it was ridiculous. Especially since I already had the virus. (She recommended it before I went back to get re-checked) I also have a few friends that also had HPV, and none of them had any side effects and didn’t even know they had it. I think this vaccine is just making a lot of people rich, it’s not necessary.


  2. Intense commercial.
    And yes, their marketing is aggressive.. I remember being pregnant & visiting the OBGYN every few weeks and noticing the Gardasil posters, door hangers, pamphlets COVERING the place.. I was irritated because I had researched it for some friends who had mentioned it and knew it was sketchy..
    During one of my appointments I asked the nurse if my 23 yr old virgin friend needed paps since she wasn’t active (b/c she had asked me this question) and the nurse turned into a walking Gardasil ad.. which was weird b/c that’s not what I was asking (at all?) and my friend was a VIRGIN @ 23..
    Needless to say I’m not a fan.. Great post.


  3. I’ve never had HPV but I did get the shots. It was after my 2nd was born. The doctor was very pushy telling me I needed to get it. Every women needs to get it. Back then I took the advice of whatever the doctor was telling me. I should of did more research but I didn’t now i wish i would of. I don’t remember having any side affects from the shots..maybe I was lucky. Thanks for the post. Looking forward to reading more about vaccines.


  4. Yeah- Gardasil is a scary vaccine, especially given the *lack* of good its done a lot of women {and the boys who have been convinced to get it}. I did some research on it when I was younger {it came out when I was 16 or 17} because I wondered whether it was a good idea to get. I thought it may be, until I realized a) most HPV is essentially harmless b) most HPV goes away on its own and c) that the vaccine protects against such a small percentage of a chance of what I may or may not contract that it wasn’t even worth it. Especially now with all the reports of negative side effects, I’m very glad I chose not to get it. As for the commercial- its marketing, as is always the case, they *NEED* to grab the viewer. They do it however they think will be most effective, they don’t hold up much for ethics or morality, its just how they work, existing solely to make the profit. Its sad so many people are sucked into things, but sadder still they so many people don’t bother to take the time not to take a commercial at face value and to actually do some legwork to research what they’re getting into.


  5. So glad I found your blog, Lee Anne! This is a great post and I hope you keep updating your finds on all of the different vaccines. I’ve become slightly overwhelmed with research so it’s nice to read your findings 🙂


  6. I personally did not get this vaccine, but since I have a little girl I did some research about it last year when it was being heaviliy marketed on t.v. After reviewing the side effects and seeing pictures etc, I decided that my daughter won’t be getting it either. Parents should do research and be more selective about the vaccines that their children receive (if any at all). I’m sure that the scientist have good intentions with this vaccine; however, I would not want to be responsible for the adverse effects on my little girl. My goal is to teach her to behave responsibly so that when she is older (hopefully married to a HPV free husband) she will have the tools to avoid contracting the virus altogether.


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