Gardasil is a controversial vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer. It is licensed to be given to boys and girls aged 9 to 15 and women aged 16 to 26. The vaccine is expected to protect against the most common sexually transmitted infection, human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cervical cancer.
The government is considering whether all children aged 11 and 12 should be given the vaccine routinely in schools before they become sexually active and can be infected with HPV. This is supposed to help reduce cervical cancer rates.
Because HPV can also cause genital warts and anal and penile cancer, some men are arguing that they also need the vaccine. And many private clinics have been offering it to men. Merck, the company that make the vaccine are testing its efficacy with 4000 men, including men who have sex with men.
Dr Anne Czarewski, clinical consultant for Cancer Research UK, is quoted in this article as saying "it is bad enough suggesting to people that their 12- year-old daughter might need a vaccine against a sexually transmitted infection."
She says she would be interested to see the response if parents are told their 12 year old boys should be given the vaccine in case they become gay.
Talk about controversy. Let's stir it up a bit more. Why doesn't there seem to be any mention of abstinence in these discussions?