HPV in Focus

Monday, September 19, 2011

The vaccines for human papilloma virus have become part of a national political debate. Alice Park, health reporter who writes for Time Magazine's Healthland blog, talks about the specifics of the virus.


Alice Park

Comments [30]

axle from NYC

re Dr Diane Harper:

..."Merck is also monitoring the number of deaths reported after Gardasil: at least 32. Merck and CDC says it's unclear whether the deaths were related to the vaccine, and that just because patients died after the shots doesn't mean the shots were necessarily to blame"

how reassuring.

Sep. 21 2011 12:05 PM
Axle from NYC

If I hadn't been told the interviewee was a journalist I'd have assumed she was a paid spokesperson to promote the vaccine.
Towards the end of the interview BL mentions Dr Diane Harper who he describes as a 'dissident.' I just looked her up and she was one of the lead researchers paid (by Merck) to study the safety and effectiveness of Gardasil and
has subsequently gone on to criticize the efficacy and potential serious health risks of the vaccine she helped get approved.
She's been studying HPV and potential vaccines for 20 years and is hardly the stereotypical anti-science nut-job that people who question vaccines are usually characterized as...

The journalist replies to the point made by Dr Harper that "the rate of serious adverse effects [from the vaccine] is greater than the rate of cervical cancer'" by referring to statistical anomalies and methodologies yet those points -which may be valid- somehow don't seem to apply to the arguments used to promote the use of the vaccine.

As a segment focusing on the medical rather than the political aspects of HPV I'd have liked to hear more robust interviewing...

Sep. 21 2011 12:02 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Many vaccines wear off after 10 years or so. That's why we get booster shots for tetanus, diphtheria, & whooping cough. The whooping cough component was dropped for a while, & that's why whooping cough cases shot up--people's immunity wore off. Whooping cough vaccine has now been added to the shots. The same could be true of the HPV vaccine. I was surprised to hear Ms. Park talk as though this couldn't happen.

Sep. 20 2011 01:59 AM
Kay from Manhattan

Clinical research is currently underway for vaccination in boys and men. Preliminary data show that the vaccine is just as effective in males as in females so hopefully it will be mandated in males as well.
And for those of you who argue that we have the Pap test to detect cervical cancer so there is no need for the vaccine, just realize that the Pap is not 100% effective in detecting disease since it is dependent on human beings looking at the cells and therefore subject to human error. I have personally seen cases of cancer missed on Pap. The combination of screening and vaccination makes the most sense.

Sep. 19 2011 02:17 PM
Robear from Brooklyn

@Mike from Tribeca... check your stats. I am not a doctor and I don't play one on TV, but there is no fatality from HPV. The fatality comes in with cervical cancer which is best detected by a PAP smear. AFAIK Women need their PAP smears even after the vaccine. I have two daughters, 18 and 20. I think this is a bad allocation of resources. It should be spent to improve the availablility of public health clinics for women.
(also the vaccine should be promoted equally for boys)

Sep. 19 2011 11:31 AM
Howard Edelman from Long Island

I believe the reason behind the recommendation for the vaccine for women only is based on politics and economics. It should be recommended to men and women. Both need to share the burden and the benefits.

Sep. 19 2011 11:24 AM
Mike from Tribeca

I wish when reporting this story the press would mention more often that the fatality rate of HPV, once contracted, is around 30%. That might make more people wake up and take notice of the seriousness of the problem.

Sep. 19 2011 11:08 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Thank you Kay for your level-headed comment. I did it hard to believe that "informed" parents who do their online research keep coming back with these vaccination myths. Vaccines have saved literally millions of lives over the last century. But they are a social contract. When some refuse due to bad or junk science (see: British doctor Andrew Wakefield's "study" of 15 kids that declared vaccines caused autism), ten it endangers the whole society. California is seeing its highest rates of whooping cough in 50 years! With a 10 day old baby at home, I am horrified by the willful negligence of other parents who won't immunize their children with proven safe and effective vaccines and endanger my child.

Sep. 19 2011 11:07 AM


Why should men assume any risk or responsibility for their sex lives??

Sep. 19 2011 11:06 AM
Ruthie Rosenfeld from Brooklyn

Where is the surgeon general in all this? The way this was handled was so heavy handed that it smacked of impropriety and political-drug company collusion. If it is effective and necessary, then make the case before the mandate. There was not enough information, enough long term research to make me as a parent comfortable with this.

Sep. 19 2011 11:05 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

@ Kay

"People talk about "curing" cancer and pour millions of dollars in donations to cancer research. We finally have something that actually works in preventing cancer so why are people so against this? "

Because the far-right, extremist, ignorant science-hating, fact ignoring republicans have politicized it. And the media helps them promote their factless arguements by presenting them as if they are actually valid.

Sep. 19 2011 11:01 AM
CL from NY

Having this reporter on to discuss this topic is irresponsible. She is clearly inadequately informed and prone to beg the question. When a caller asked why boys are not being inoculated, her response was that the authorities "are not recommending that boys be inoculated." And BL simply let that answer pass. Is he asleep?

Sep. 19 2011 11:01 AM

If nothing else, it sounds like another great BIG Pharma™ investment opportunity!

Go BIG Pharma™!!

Sep. 19 2011 11:01 AM
Robear from Brooklyn

Very one-sided presentation.
(1) in what percentage of infected people, does the body's immune system cure the infection?
(2) women still need PAP smears even after taking the vaccine. Public health clinics are underfunded. After spending all this money on a vaccine, will they be more underfunded?

Sep. 19 2011 11:00 AM
Robear from Brooklyn

Very one-sided presentation.
(1) in what percentage of infected people, does the body's immune system cure the infection?
(2) women still need PAP smears even after taking the vaccine. Public health clinics are underfunded. After spending all this money on a vaccine, will they be more underfunded?

Sep. 19 2011 10:59 AM
Addy Fox from Brooklyn

FYI: you do NOT have to have unprotected sex to get HPV. I got a terrible oral HPV infection as a child and then was later told I had HPV at my first PAP smear at 16, before I ever had unprotected sex. If you can get a cold sore, you can get HPV.

We vaccinate children against Hepatitis B, a sexually transmitted disease. What's the difference? Oh, right, forgot about that political football they put in the Guardasil.

Sep. 19 2011 10:58 AM
Ken from Little Neck

The moralist hand-wringing on this topic is completely disgusting. If HPV were not spread sexually, this would not be an issue. Further, I think that if it were a virus that affected men instead of women - say for instance that it were linked to prostate cancer instead of cervical cancer - there would be almost no controversy. Male sexual activity is encouraged from a young age, female sexual activity is shunned.

Sep. 19 2011 10:58 AM
greg g from nyc

HPV is also linked to penile cancer and anal cancer, not just cervical cancer.
your guest should do better research before
speaking on your show. so yes young males should also be considered for mandatory vaccine.

Sep. 19 2011 10:56 AM
Ellen from Williamsburg

How safe is the vaccine? Drug companies have a really bad record of testing drugs on females, only to find terrible side-effects years down the road - see "ERT, BCP testing in Puerto Rico, DES, Thalidomide.

Why in the word should we trust this one?

From what I have read, this vaccine only targets a few HPV strains, not all of them - is there enough benefit to warrant wide-spread use in an entire generation of females?

Sep. 19 2011 10:56 AM
Kim from Brooklyn

This conversation needs to be expanded to include the Hepatitis B vaccine, which is mandated for NEWBORNS, despite the fact that Hep B is primarily transmitted sexually or via IV drug use. The issues are vey much the same, yet no one is raising the same questions about it. In fact, Hep B vaccine ought to be more controversial given the potential risks to a baby only days old.

Sep. 19 2011 10:55 AM
Kay from Manhattan

I am a doctor who does HPV/cervical cancer research. You should mention the fact that HPV not only causes cervical cancer, but also cancer in the throat (specifically oropharyngeal), penile, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancer.
People talk about "curing" cancer and pour millions of dollars in donations to cancer research. We finally have something that actually works in preventing cancer so why are people so against this? If there were a vaccine to prevent breast or prostate cancer, you think there would be a single person against it?

Sep. 19 2011 10:55 AM
regina schrambling

Given that HPV has also been connected to oral cancer, why are only girls vaccinated?

Sep. 19 2011 10:54 AM
Ron from ny

Mass vaccination does not take into the suscpetible population who will react or die. Wonder new drugs and vaccines have been put onto the market only to be taken off years or decades later because they cause cancer, heart issues etc.. Why use our children as the experimental population??

Sep. 19 2011 10:53 AM
Christine from west orange, new jersey, united states

Are there any published results (since the vaccine came out) that speak to side-effects or fatalities?

Sep. 19 2011 10:53 AM

Question - please keep me anonymous - is HPV or genital warts transmitted in utero?

Sep. 19 2011 10:52 AM

Why not encourage the use of the vaccine for BOTH boys and girls. It seems as if that would more quickly reduce the prevalence of the disease.

Sep. 19 2011 10:51 AM
John A.

No human agency created HPV, or AIDS or Syphilis, or Chlamydia or the next venereal disease. Having sex inside marriage is just one killer way of preventing all of this, and the costs of this. That's what the morality types know intuitively. Oh yeah, and doesn't Guardasil leave the door still open 25% to the disease anyway?

Sep. 19 2011 10:51 AM
Jay from New York

Shouldn't boys take this as well?
I know a gay man who died of anal cancer - could this have been caused by HPV?

Sep. 19 2011 10:51 AM
carolita from nyc

Hello? I hope I hear someone mention that the HPV vaccine is very effective in boys and men. I don't see why it's only girls who should be obliged to be innoculated. They catch it from boys! I don't object to the vaccine. I object to targetting only girls.

Sep. 19 2011 10:51 AM

but if one has sex outside of marriage one SHOULD die - american taliban

Sep. 19 2011 10:22 AM

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