Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Patrick Hayes MD

7/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As a parent, I find the medical community somewhat unwilling to disclose that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease

However, as HPV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), the success of a 'medicine' that appears to remove the consequences of sin, by preventing genital warts and cervical cancer in persons who have one or multiple sexual partners who have had multiple sexual partners, leaves persons of faith and chastity questioning the motives and wisdom of governments, pharmaceutical companies and doctors.

Highlights

By Patrick Hayes MD

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: HPV, STD, Vaccination, HPV vaccination, Catholic Medical Association, CDC, Patrick Hayes MD


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - As Christians and men and women of good will, what are we to make of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine and, more specifically, the recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hailed as evidence of a great success?  There are many factors to consider in judging this medical intervention that may legitimately come to be a successful measure to improve health for all in an imperfect world. 

However, as HPV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), the success of a 'medicine' that appears to remove the consequences of sin, by preventing genital warts and cervical cancer in persons who have one or multiple sexual partners who have had multiple sexual partners, leaves persons of faith and chastity questioning the motives and wisdom of governments, pharmaceutical companies and doctors.

In this brief review, I will consider facts concerning the virus itself, cervical cancer and the results of the CDC study.  I will also address the questions of vaccine safety, vaccine influence on behavior and the points made by the Catholic Medical Association.

From the fact sheet by the CDC (2010):
- HPV is the most commonly diagnosed STD in the United States.
- There are about 110 million total STD infections in the U.S. each year, 20 million of which are new.
- Of that STD total, 79 million are HPV and of the new STDs, 14 million are new HPV infections.
- HPV infections are "cleared" from detectable levels in the body at a rate of 90% within 2 years of infection.
- There are two different HPV vaccines: Gardasil which became available in late 2006 and Ceravix which became available in 2009. Both are administered in 3 doses. Gardasil, the 'quadrivalent' vaccine, is designed to protect against virus subtypes 16, 18, 6 and 11, while Ceravix works to protect against subtypes 16 and 18 only.

Because infection with certain high risk HPV subtypes is necessary but not sufficient to acquire cervical cancer, to be well-informed we should know more about the virus and the cancer.  

Available online information includes:
- Over 40 mucosal HPV genotypes infect the lower female genital tract.
- The virus is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with the genitals of an infected person, not through nonsexual social interaction.
- The risk of HPV infection in women is directly related to the number of male sex partners and to the male partners' number of sex partners
- Low risk subtypes of HPV, such as 6 and 11, cause some 90% of all genital warts, do not integrate into the host genome as high risk subtypes (those associated with cancer) can.
And concerning cervical cancer:
- In developed countries in 2008, cervical cancer was the tenth most common type of cancer in women (9.0 per 100,000 women) and ranked below the top ten causes of cancer mortality (3.2 per 100,000).
- or approximately 3,700 - 4,000 cancer deaths out of 9,800 - 12,000 women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States annually.
- In contrast, in developing countries it was the second most common type of cancer (17.8 per 100,000) and cause of cancer deaths (9.8 per 100,000) among women (and the most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide).
- The two major factors associated with development of cervical cancer, after promiscuity, are HPV subtype and persistence of infection.
- Environmental factors (e.g., cigarette smoking) and immunologic influences also appear to play a role.
- In one study, the relative risk of cervical cancer in smokers was two to four-fold that of nonsmokers.
- Long-term use of oral contraceptives has been considered as a cofactor for higher risk of cervical cancer in HPV-positive women. This may simply be a marker of more promiscuous individuals rather than a causal relationship.
- Approximately 13 to 18 HPV subtypes are considered to cause all cervical cancer worldwide and are known as carcinogenic, high risk, or cancer-associated HPV types (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 and 68), of which  subtype 16 and 18 cause about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases.
- A persistent HPV infection is variably defined as one that is present (not cleared by the immune system within) at least 6 to 12 months.

In the CDC study, researchers observed a reduction in HPV prevalence in young women in the United States due to Gardasil vaccination starting in late 2006. Authored by L. Markowitz, et al., the study appeared this spring in the Journal of Infectious Disease. Data from the NHANES included 4,150 females in the pre-vaccine period and 4,253 females in the vaccine period.  Ages ranged from 14 to 59, but only the 14 to 19 year old group showed reduction in HPV 'vaccine type (6, 11, 16, 18)' prevalence which fits with a vaccine program in the U.S. targeting that segment of population primarily. 

High risk HPV vaccine types (16, 18) were reduced by 56% and the low risk, genital wart types (6, 11) by 50%.  Self-reporting of at least 1 dose vaccine was noted in 34% of these girls with 62% of that number having received all 3 doses.  Sexual behavior reporting for this group was similar over the two periods with 54% in the first and 50% in the second having had sex previously.  Samples size for the first group was 1,363 and the second, 740. So, there was sufficient power in participant numbers to confirm the conclusion of vaccine effectiveness.  Also highlighted was the finding of 82% effectiveness with just one dose of the vaccine.

Turning to safety, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System linked through the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC gives some idea as to the number and type of reactions people considered related to vaccine administration.  For Gardasil, from its introduction in 2006, through 2008, some 23 million doses were administered with 12,424 adverse events recorded. Of those, 777 (6%) were considered serious and 32 of these were deaths that were investigated to search for a causal relationship with the vaccine. 

Where an autopsy, death certificate or medical record was available, the deaths could be attributed to other causes.  Two deaths were related to apparent variants of Lou Gehrig's disease in young girls and were still under investigation.  Increased reporting of blood clots with this vaccine was also found coincident with other risk factors such as smoking or oral contraceptive use

Ironically, during the same week in which the CDC study reported reductions in HPV infection in the United States, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare withdrew its recommendation (without suspending vaccinations) after reviewing adverse events reports. Japanese officials found that rates of adverse reactions reported after the HPV vaccines were higher than those with influenza and polio vaccines approved simultaneously in 2010 .

Many have expressed concern over the possibility of increased promiscuity due to a sense of invulnerability after vaccinating children for HPV.  This is a valid question as the use of condoms has done just this.  Unlike the condom problem, HPV vaccination is not an ongoing lesson to children in their parents' lack of faith in them.  Also, parents may be concerned about problems such as date rape leading to HPV infection regardless of their child's self-control.

There is evidence against the idea of increased promiscuity from a 2006-2010 retrospective cohort study of 1,398 girls age 11 to 12 years in Atlanta, Georgia. Lead researcher Robert Bednarczyk, et al., found no difference in sexual activity before or after vaccination.  Of the participants, 493 had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine and 905 had only received other age-appropriate vaccines.

The Catholic Medical Association position paper on HPV vaccination from January 2007 sums up the ethical points well.  The vaccine appears to be effective and safe compared to other vaccines.  It is not produced using aborted fetal cell lines [with human DNA contaminants].  The vaccination should not be mandated, because in the absence of sexual contact, unvaccinated students pose no threat to others. 

Parents should be well-informed regarding the vaccine and alternative management of HPV. It should be kept in mind that duration of effectiveness for this vaccine is not yet known and that this vaccine does not protect against other STDs.  Children and parents alike should be encouraged in chastity to promote full emotional and physical health and happiness.

As a parent, I find the medical community somewhat unwilling to disclose that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease.  This appears to be related to medical providers' fear of delayed vaccination in the face of a rise in parent skepticism regarding vaccination generally.  As a family physician, I find that parents appreciate discussing the risks of sexual activity and that sexual contact is necessary to be infected with HPV.  Often they will decline the vaccine, especially when they have good rapport with their daughter or son.

-----

Patrick Hayes MD is a faithful Catholic who practices family medicine in Corpus Christi, Texas and serves as the President of the Corpus Christi Right to Life Committee http://corpuschristirighttolife.com/


 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Health

NEW HOPE IN EBOLA CRISIS: U.S. doctor released from hospital - cured Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Contracting the deadly African virus while he worked to save their lives, Dr. Kent Brantly became one of the handful of people from the United States to contract Ebola. Receiving treatment back in the U.S., Brantly walked out of the hospital to the waiting arms ... continue reading


HEALTH DISASTER: Is nearly half of all Americans destined to contract diabetes? Watch

Image of The irony of the situation is that Americans are generally living longer, which is a factor in their increased lifetime chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Americans are also not dying in the same proportions that they were, because of better treatment.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Has the United States reached the tipping point with diabetes and obesity? A shocking new study claims that nearly HALF of all Americans, if trends continue, will develop type 2 diabetes in the near future. Public Health England, in their most recent report ... continue reading


First large-scale shipment of new malaria drug shipped out Watch

Image of The recent shipment marks a new phase in the fight against the mosquito-borne disease.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just as virulent - as far more easily transmitted than Ebola, malaria is making new inroads to populations in sub-Saharan Africa. In response, French drug maker Sanofi has announced the delivery of large-scale batches of an antimalarial drug made using ... continue reading


Very accurate colon cancer in-home detection kit approved by FDA Watch

Image of  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new at-home, DNA-based stool test that screens for colorectal cancer with more than 90 percent accuracy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Screening for colon cancer is frequently arduous and invasive. Patients need to fast prior to a colonoscopy, and the colonoscopy itself be highly uncomfortable and not always accurate. There's now good news for those at risk. The U.S. Food and Drug ... continue reading


You'll think twice before you put this dangerous chemical back in your mouth! Watch

Image of Colgate's Total brand of toothpaste contains the chemical triclosan, which has been proven to cause disruptions in the endocrine system in mice and rats.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A top-selling toothpaste uses the chemical triclosan which has been linked to cancer-cell growth and disrupted development in animals, and regulators are still reviewing whether or not it's safe to pt in soap, cutting boars and toys, while many consumer companies ... continue reading


New diabetes drug could help us all: Found effective in preventing cancer Watch

Image of Scientists who studied more than 180,000 people found a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a new study, a drug widely prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes could help us all live longer. Said drug, metformin, which controls glucose levels, may also stave off cardiovascular disease and cancer, regardless if the person is diabetic. LOS ... continue reading


Mutated gene increases women's chance for breast cancer by threefold Watch

Image of Doctors also could recommend more aggressive surveillance for breast cancer, such as annual mammograms or MRI breast screening.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study has found that mutated versions of a gene called PALB2 can dramatically increase a woman's risk of breast cancer. Researchers say that women carrying the PALB2 mutation have a one in three chance of developing breast cancer by the age of 70. LOS ... continue reading


WAS WORLD'S THROAT CUT? Ebola vaccine research was earlier abandoned Watch

Image of It must also be noted that while the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. government often fund the early animal safety and efficacy testing of a vaccine, pharmaceutical companies typically fund the human clinical trials to take a drug or vaccine to market.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With increasing fears of the Ebola virus in West Africa and elsewhere, world governments are now frantically trying to contain the disease. What is not widely known is the fact that there had been work on finding a vaccine for Ebola four years ago, that was ... continue reading


PLAGUE STRIKES HOME: At least six people tested for Ebola in U.S. Watch

Image of Said individual, who has recently traveled to West Africa where the current outbreak is taking place is said to be under

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At least six people within the continental United States have been tested for the dreaded Ebola virus, the deadly hemorrhagic disease tearing through West Africa. While all six people tested negative, the states in which these people were from remains a tightly ... continue reading


NEW THERAPY: Will chemotherapy be rendered obsolete in 20 years' time? Watch

Image of Genome sequencing will help drug companies design medicines that can successfully target the tumor, according to Professor Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, which is part of the project.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Chemotherapy is regime that many cancer patients undergo. Many feel that the cure is at times worse than the disease: Weeks of nausea, fatigue, pain and disorientation. Now, drugs that target cancer without harming healthy cells that trigger harmful side ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 1:17-19
17 'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:17-29
17 Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 29th, 2014 Image

St. Sabina
August 29: St. Sabina's feast day is August 29th. We know St. Sabina only ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter