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January 3, 2007

10 Things You Might Not Know About Gardasil

You might have noticed recently that the makers of the new HPV vaccine Gardasil really really really want you to try their product. I think the TV commercials are running about every 7.5 seconds. I admit that I tend to be pretty skeptical of the whole women’s health “industry”, so after seeing the ads about five million times, I decided to do some research.

[EDITED TO ADD: We finally finished the follow-up to this, 10 More Things You Might Not Know About Gardasil for those of you who would like even more, current info!]

10 Things You Might Not Know About Gardasil

1. The vaccine only decreases your chances of getting cervical cancer, it doesn’t eliminate the risk.

Straight from gardasil.com:

“HPV Types 16 and 18 cause 70% of cervical cancer cases.

GARDASIL may not fully protect everyone and does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it is important to continue regular cervical cancer screenings.”

Merck is upfront with this information; they don't try to hide it or spin it. But with all of the media coverage and information floating around about the "100% effective cancer vaccine", it's helpful to remember that Gardasil is only 100% effective at doing what it is supposed to do, which is preventing certain specific types of HPV, not preventing all cervical cancer.

2. Even without the vaccine, the number of cervical cancer cases is trending downward and has been for years. (This is only true in the U.S.; worldwide it is one of the top cancer killers of women because women in many other countries have limited access to Pap tests and other health services.)

The Gardasil commercials refer to "thousands of women" being diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S. each year, which is true, but they don't put that number into context.

“Cervical cancer has gone from being one of the top killers of American women to not even being on the top 10 list. This year cervical cancer will represent just 1 percent of the 679,510 new cancer cases and 1 percent of the 273,560 anticipated cancer deaths among American women. By contrast, some 40,970 women will die of breast cancer and 72,130 will die of lung cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, "'Between 1955 and 1992, the number of cervical cancer deaths in the United States dropped by 74 percent.' Think about it: 74 percent.”

So Merck wants parents to have their pre-teen and teenage daughters vaccinated. But if current trends continue, by the time these girls are old enough to be at risk, how big will the risk really be? Check out the government's statistics on cervical cancer for yourself at the National Cancer Institute website.

3. Gardasil is one of the most expensive vaccines ever, at about $360 for the series of three shots, plus the cost of doctor visits. Call me cynical, but I can’t help but think about how much money Merck stands to make from this if they can manage to convince all young women and all parents of young girls that this vaccine is a necessity. And while we’re at it, call me a conspiracy theorist too for wondering if maybe Merck just might be exaggerating the cervical cancer risk by a lot in order to scare young women and mothers into buying their product.

"'We're seeing a fairly remarkable uptake of Gardasil,' said Rick Haupt of Merck & Co., which reported sales of the vaccine had reached $70 million, exceeding analysts' projections.”[3]

Gardasil is a cash cow. The revenue stream is big now, with the potential to get much bigger. This is especially important for Merck, which is still dealing with the scandal surrounding their pain medication Vioxx, which they had to withdraw from the market in 2004 after it was found to increase the long-term risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who took it regularly. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed by former Vioxx patients. Vaccines like Gardasil are needed to provide the constant stream of cash that will help Merck to recover from Vioxx.

“Merck, struggling since the 2004 recall of its blockbuster pain pill Vioxx, has staked its turnaround in part on vaccines. They accounted for $1.1 billion of its $22 billion in revenue last year, or 5 percent, the highest share since at least 1995." [4]

4. While we're on the subject of liability, lawsuits, and profits, there's another angle to consider. If Merck can get state governments to put Gardasil on their lists of vaccines that are required for schoolchildren, it can become a part of a federal vaccine liability program. Meaning that Merck will not be liable if Gardasil turns out to be harmful some time in the future. [5] [6] [7]

If I felt like being cynical again, I might think that this is one of the reasons why a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease is being marketed not just to young women who are having sex or are going to become sexually active soon, but also to girls as young as nine. There’s a hell of a lot more stability and profitability in a required childhood vaccine than there would be in an optional vaccine meant only for young women.

It's important to remember that no matter how many feel-good, we're all in this fight together and we're just doing this out of the goodness of our hearts ad campaigns they run, drug companies are not non-profit organizations. They are in this to make money and a lot of it, and while that doesn't mean that all prescription drugs are harmful and horrible or that all doctors are evil, it does mean that when it comes to our health, we probably shouldn't take anything at face value.

5. There have been no long-term studies done on the effect of the vaccine after 5-10 or more years, and testing on young girls has been extremely limited.

“Merck has tested the cervical cancer vaccine in clinical trials of more than 20,000 women (about half of them got the shot). The health of the subjects was followed for about three and a half years on average. But fewer than 1,200 girls under 16 got the shots, among them only about 100 9-year-olds, Merck officials said, and the younger girls have been followed for only 18 months." [8]

If parents are expected to take their daughters to get a series of expensive immunizations, wouldn’t it be nice if they had any idea at all about what effects these girls might have to deal with 5 or 10 years down the line?

If you're wondering what the rush was, part of the answer could be patents. When a company's patent on a particular drug expires, that's when generic versions of the drug can be developed and released into the market, which obviously drives the price and the profits of the original drug way down. Merck's patent on the extremely profitable cholesterol drug Zocor expired in June of this year, and Gardasil is one of the new drugs being counted on to bridge Merck's financial gap. According to the FDA, Merck filed an application for a patent extension for Gardasil on December 6th.

This CNN Money article has more info on Merck's financial past, present, and future.

6. It is unknown how long the immunity provided by Gardasil actually lasts

“Public health officials want to vaccinate girls early, before they become sexually active, even though it is not known how long the immunity will last.” [9]

“Tests show that the vaccine lasts at least four years. Long-term results aren't known yet.” [10]

And straight from the: http://www.fda.gov/cber/label/gardasilLB.pdf" target="_blank">FDA

“The duration of immunity following a complete schedule of immunization with GARDASIL has not been established.”[11]

So if I do decide that it’s worth the risks to my hypothetical nine year old and that I should go ahead and give her the vaccine, in the end I don’t even know if it will do her any good at all by the time she
actually becomes sexually active.

I completely disagree with the people who are against this vaccine for “moral reasons” and claim that the vaccine will encourage young women to be promiscuous because their STD risk will be reduced. But I do have a problem with the fact Merck isn’t telling women that their immunity may only last for a few years. The women and girls who get the vaccine may base some of their future sexual choices on the assumption that they are protected, but by the time many of them become sexually active this may not be true anymore.

The studies done on Gardasil were not set up to investigate whether the vaccine itself has the potential to cause cancer.

“GARDASIL has not been evaluated for the potential to cause carcinogenicity or genotoxicity.”[12]

n. Any substance or agent that tends to produce a cancer.

n. A chemical or other agent that damages cellular DNA, resulting in mutations or cancer.

8. Gardasil is one of many vaccines containing aluminum, and there is increasing evidence suggesting that aluminum-based vaccines can have harmful effects. Aluminum is a neurotoxin and the aluminum in vaccines can potentially reach the brain. Since the list of required childhood vaccines is only getting longer over time, children are being exposed to doses of aluminum that may exceed what their bodies are capable of managing. Aluminum in vaccines has been linked to a variety of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s, although a lot more research is needed. [13] [14]

It's also interesting to note that according to the FDA, Merck tested Gardasil along with the Hepatitis B vaccine (currently on the required list), to make sure that there were no negative effects to administering both vaccines during the same doctor's visit. The tests showed no apparent problems. [15] However, the hepatitis vaccine was the only one that was tested, so it is unknown whether any of the other required childhood vaccines could be potentially harmful when combined with Gardasil. There was also no information in any of the studies about what adding Gardasil to the required list would do to the cumulative aluminum levels in children's bodies.

9. Gardasil is only for women.

"Boys would not have to be vaccinated, although they can get HPV. There are no HPV tests for men. The vaccine has not yet been tried on men." [16]

Men can get HPV. Men can give HPV to their partners. Men can get genital warts from HPV. Men can get cancer from HPV. (80% of HPV-related cancers affect women, but the other 20% include penile and anal cancers affecting men). [17]

So why wasn’t Gardasil tested on men, and why isn’t Merck funding PR campaigns to educate men about their HPV risk? Is it because they feel that there’s more of a stigma surrounding men’s sexual health, and that it would be more difficult to convince men and parents of boys of the risks? And as a result they wouldn’t be able to make nearly as much money off of men as they will off of women. (Sorry, there’s that cynical thing again.)

I think both men and women can take issue with this. Men, because their sexual health is really not being addressed here. They don't even have a test that can tell them whether they have HPV or not, so even if they want to be responsible about it there is only so much they can do. And women, because they are being asked to take full responsibility for HPV prevention. Women and girls are expected to take on all of the costs and the risks of this vaccine, and even if they do get vaccinated they could still be infected with HPV by a male partner who has been told that HPV isn't something that he needs to worry about.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:

"There is no clear health benefit to knowing you have this virus—since HPV is unlikely to affect your health and cannot be treated. For most men, there would be no need to treat HPV, even if treatment were available— since it usually goes away on its own." [18]

Isn't it a little irresponsible (and sexist) to say there is no benefit to a male HPV test? Regardless of the possible health issues such as penile or anal cancer, isn't not infecting your unsuspecting partner also considered a benefit? Men are reassured that tests and treatment are unnecessary because their HPV infections will likely go away on their own, while the fact is that most women's HPV infections will go away on their own as well. [19]

Apparently, when Gardasil went before an FDA panel for approval, Merck asked the panel to approve the vaccine for boys also, even though they have not done the same amount of testing on boys as they have on girls.

"Merck asked the committee to endorse vaccination of boys age 9 to 15, too. Urging them not to wait for ongoing studies to end, it said evidence shows Gardasil can prevent some male cancers and may slow the spread of sexually transmitted HPV.
'By delaying three-plus years, we could have an additional 100,000 [cancer] cases that could have otherwise been avoided,' Barr told the committee. But panel members didn't vote on the request, calling the idea compelling but unproven."[20]

It seems to me that we need to spend more time researching HPV in men and boys, not less time. And it would be nice to feel like Merck was taking this issue seriously and not just tacking it on as a "me too" measure in order to get approval more quickly. On the flip side, it's a positive step that more research on HPV in men is now being done. Maybe they'll even change their minds and decide that it is worthwhile to develop a male HPV test after all. They could probably share a lab with the researchers who are hard at work on that male birth control pill we've been hearing about for years.

10. The bottom line: Don't get this vaccine just because your doctor/mom/sister/friend/a perky TV commercial told you to. But don’t not get it just because some chicks with a blog say that they aren’t going to. It’s your health, your decision. Do your own research and accept no guilt trips. My own mom wanted me to consider getting the vaccine (it is also being recommended for sexually active young women, even though it will probably do us—well, do evil slutty me anyway—no good), but she encouraged me to research it first, so I did. When I told her what I had found out, she agreed with my decision not to get it.

The Gardasil ad campaign is screaming at us to be “One Less”, meaning one less woman affected by cervical cancer. I’m all for that. I’m just going to try to reach that goal in my own way…as one less woman making an uninformed decision.

PS: We finally finished the follow-up to this, 10 More Things You Might Not Know About Gardasil for those of you who would like even more, current info!


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Anonymous said...

Unrelated, but "One Less" is not only annoying but also grammatically incorrect. It should be "One Fewer", but I guess that's not as catchy.

Meeky P. said...

You know, there was always something that seemed a little fishy about this drug to me. I didn't consider getting it because I happen to know that a lot of cases of HPV clear up on their own and because it only helps in 4 out of what, 100 different strands? To me, that's just not worth it. Hope you wonderful girls don't mind if I repost this on my LJ.


As you might have noticed, we do have some attention whore tendencies, so we don't mind reposting at all. (We'd appreciate it if you post the link also, of course, but other than that feel free.)

Glad you liked the piece! We definitely agree that there's something fishy about Gardasil--it might not be the most evil invention of all time, but we just don't think women are getting the full story on this one.

The Cervical Cancer Blog said...

Thanks for posting such a thought-provoking article! I've linked to it from our blog.

Kristina said...

Good, Good, Good job. I have a nine year old young lady and I found out today they are making it mandatory for school girls to receive the vaccine. This is an outrage to me. My daughter will not have this vaccine. I did have cervical cancer many years ago that was removed surgically with no problem. The Dr. said it was likely caused by HPV. I have had all normal paps since. I am fine!! I also have had more children since. I have no problems. I think it is important to teach our children about taking care of their bodies and getting regular paps. I will not be experimenting on my child. Thanks again for your research!

Anonymous said...

- Soon the vaccine wil probably be available for men. First, they are trying to protect the health of women. This is more of an issue for impoverished women (non-Americans) who have no access to routine care. This virus poses no deadly threat to men therefore its availability to them will come later.

-Death from cervical cancer IS on the decline. However, nearly all sexually active adults become infected either with a low or high risk strain - these are the most common 4 types. The vaccine will also expand in time to cover more.

Regarding COST: Treatment costs for these infections far outweigh the cost of the vaccine (warts and precancerous lesions must be removed and there are numerous follow up visits involved, etc) , not to mention the emotional cost involved.

It is simply irresponsible also not to consider that by taking responsibility to immunize yourself, you are protecting the health of others as well. It's not all about you.

This is not a conspiracy theory - it's a vaccine that is a work in progress and will save the lives of thousands of poor women. Look ahead, and look beyond yourselves for a minute. We will also see a herpes vaccine come soon. Will you call that a conspiracy too? These things are not perfect out of the gate.


How do you know what indirect costs one might have due to getting this vaccine. They have no clue what the long-term side effects might be.

As YOU said... it's a work in progress and not perfect out of the gate. So why exactly are they PUSHING us to get it NOW... when it's still not ready and everything is still not known?

We never said Merck was evil. Just that they don't have our best interests at heart alone... they are also in this for profit. Maybe they're ready to push this too soon so they can profit NOW? Even if they really were doing it for the people... don't you think maybe fear is not the best motivation? Maybe out of fear we're all jumping to get something that's just NOT READY.

Yeah if this vaccine really could stop women from getting cervical cancer with no side effects... it sounds pretty good. But use some common sense and you know that's not necessarily true.

But as for calling us conspiracy theorists and irresponsible... if you've paid any attention to the blog at all, you'd have read that we're not telling anyone NOT to get it. We're telling people to make INFORMED decisions. Not decisions based on fear or obligation or pressure or propaganda or misinformation.

As for immunizing ourselves, most of the ESC isn't eligible anyway. But for the record, everything is about us. Always. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the information. I knew that there has not been testing out there to show what might be the long term affects of this vaccine. So many drug companies have pushed through things that weren't studied long enough and have ended with hurting a lot of innocent people.

I will not be have my 11 year old daughter get this vaccine. This is not for moral or biblical reasons, but to ensure my daughter's safety. When she turns 18, she can make her own decision about this vaccine. In ten years, when more is known about the long term affects of this vaccine, I might let my other daughter get it (she will be 15).

I do not live in a state that mandates this vaccine, but if this ever happens, I will quit my job and home school my girls. No, I am not rich or even well off, but my children are more important.

Anonymous said...

thank you you helped me find a lot of links I was looking for to research the vaccine. I live in a state that just mandated the vaccine, and while my daughter fall shy af the age requirements I am hoping to find out all I can before she hits that age.

a guy said...

being one of those guys that cares about all the women in his life, this was all good to know. but what about '10 things guys might want to know about cervical cancer?' knowing my own history i have questions, but most of the info in the cyber-world seems to be directed at women. which is fine, but guys are people too...yeah?

stickdog said...

So I've been watching all these ads on TV telling people to find out about GARDASIL. And then I read that Merck was lobbying for this vaccine to become mandatory. Then I saw that the Texas governor is making this vaccine mandatory in Texas for preteens. So I finally decided to look into it.

Here's the scoop:

1) GARDASIL is a vaccine for 4 strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), two strains that are strongly associated (and probably cause) genital warts and two strains that are typically associated (and may cause) cervical cancer. About 90% of people with genital warts show exposure to one of the two HPV strains strongly suspected to cause genital warts. About 70% of women with cervical cancer show exposure to one of the other two HPV strains that the vaccine is designed to confer resistance to.

2) HPV is a sexually communicable (not an infectious) virus. When you consider all strains of HPV, over 70% of sexually active males and females have been exposed. A condom helps a lot (70% less likely to get it), but has not been shown to stop transmission in all cases (only one study of 82 college girls who self-reported about condom use has been done). For the vast majority of women, exposure to HPV strains (even the four "bad ones" protected for in GARDASIL) results in no known health complications of any kind.

3) Cervical cancer is not a deadly nor prevalent cancer in the US or any other first world nation. Cervical cancer rates have declined sharply over the last 30 years and are still declining. Cervical cancer accounts for less than 1% of of all female cancer cases and deaths in the US. Cervical cancer is typically very treatable and the prognosis for a healthy outcome is good. The typical exceptions to this case are old women, women who are already unhealthy and women who don't get pap smears until after the cancer has existed for many years.

4) Merck's clinical studies for GARDASIL were problematic in several ways. Only 20,541 women were used (half got the "placebo") and their health was followed up for only four years at maximum and typically 1-3 years only. More critically, only 1,121 of these subjects were less than 16. The younger subjects were only followed up for a maximum of 18 months. Furthermore, less than 10% of these subjects received true placebo injections. The others were given injections containing an aluminum salt adjuvant (vaccine enhancer) that is also a component of GARDASIL. This is scientifically preposterous, especially when you consider that similar alum adjuvants are suspected to be responsible for Gulf War disease and other possible vaccination related complications.

5) Both the "placebo" groups and the vaccination groups reported a myriad of short term and medium term health problems over the course of their evaluations. The majority of both groups reported minor health complications near the injection site or near the time of the injection. Among the vaccination group, reports of such complications were slightly higher. The small sample that was given a real placebo reported far fewer complications -- as in less than half. Furthermore, most if not all longer term complications were written off as not being potentially vaccine caused for all subjects.

6) Because the pool of subjects were so small and the rates of cervical cancer are so low, NOT A SINGLE CONTROL SUBJECT ACTUALLY CONTRACTED CERVICAL CANCER IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM -- MUCH LESS DIED OF IT. Instead, this vaccine's supposed efficacy is based on the fact that the vaccinated group ended up with far fewer cases (5 vs. about 200) of genital warts and "precancerous lesions" (dysplasias) than the alum injected "control" subjects.

7) Because the tests included just four years of follow up at most, the long term effects and efficacy of this vaccine are completely unknown for anyone. All but the shortest term effects are completely unknown for little girls. Considering the tiny size of youngster study, the data about the shortest terms side effects for girls are also dubious.

8) GARDASIL is the most expensive vaccine ever marketed. It requires three vaccinations at $120 a pop for a total price tag of $360. It is expected to be Merck's biggest cash cow of this and the next decade.

These are simply the facts of the situation as presented by Merck and the FDA. This vaccine was just approved in June, 2006. It was never tested on pre-teens except in a tiny trial run with at most 18 months of follow up. Even if we subscribe to the theory that HPV causes cervical cancer, there is ZERO hard data showing that this vaccine reduces cervical cancer rates or cervical cancer mortality rates, which are both already very low in the US and getting lower every year. Now Texas has already made this vaccine mandatory for middle school with all sorts of useful idiots and Big Pharma operatives clamoring for more states to make this vaccine COMPULSORY immediately.

Has everyone gotten the picture or should I continue?

Anonymous said...

As am immunologist, I can tell you that the dangers and possible consequences of this vaccine are not comparable to medications on the market, because vaccines and drugs work very differently. While it's not possible to know for sure that there are no long term effects until we hit the long term, the chances that there will be any negative health impacts of this vaccine for girls who get it are miniscule. The reason that it's being pushed now, before there is even more evidence in its favor, is that it's morally unsupportable to hold out on the people who benefit from this vaccine any longer, when it's clear that it will help. As a previous commenter wrote, the people who benefit most from this vaccine are the women who do not have access to routine pap smears, and who therefore are unlikely to be as lucky as those whose cervical cancer is caught in an early stage and can be treated. For the women vowing to keep their daughters from getting this vaccine at all costs: please reconsider and do some more research.

P Kasperitis said...

This morning I woke up to the news that my state, TEXAS by Executive Order was requiring Gardasil as a required vacanation for girls turning 11 in 2008. I was incensed. I couldn't get my thoughts around how this was SO wrong. Your article has helped me put the thought process into a calm critical thinking skill! Thank you.

Texas needs to be shut down on this issue - our Governor has ordered this without input from anyone except Merck!

I had HPV as a young adult. I am educated. I know how dangerous it can be but this has pushed the envelope too far.


There has been much speculation as to whether or not regular childhood immunizations have adverse effects (even such as autism), despite the fact that mainstream medicine says they do not. Lack of documented evidence to these effects doesn't necessarily mean there are no effects. Science learns something new every day.

Also, there have been NO studies done on the accumulative effects of this vaccine on top of all the other required childhood vaccinations (only the Hepatitis vaccine has been tested with Gardasil so far).

As we have already said, we are not urging anyone to avoid Gardasil... just to make the best decision for themselves and their daughters based on their own personal criteria, etc. For many of the people with 9 year olds who oppose Gardasil now, they may very well be in favor of getting the vaccine when their daughters are closer to sexually-active age and when Merck has done further research.

Anonymous said...

I have genital warts. You don't want them. Getting them has caused me to feel depressed and afraid to be intimate due to the fact that I would have to tell my partner. So, I've avoided it for over a year now. I'm good looking, intelligent, friendly, but because I got this damn virus I feel worthless in regards to the opposite sex. My only hope now is to tell my partner before we have sex to get the vaccine, although it takes 6 months. I just hope that they have already gotten it. So, the more women that get the vaccine the better. It costs so much most likely because it is new and they aren't pushing it neccessarily. They have waited four years since the first women were vaccinated. Why should they wait any longer if they are confident in the vaccine? They could prevent let's say a hundred thousand women from getting cervical cancer in the years they waited. It's not a hundred percent guaranteed and it's still unknown how long it will protect but you would have to wait a hundred years to find that out, but like you said, they're not hiding these facts. And they are a business, businesses generate revenue or they couldn't continue to operate. How much of the revenue they turn to profit is unknown but don't be so quick to accuse merck of foulplay. Yes, they will probably make a killing off of this vaccine but it is a breakthrough, and if it will virtually eliminate cevical cancer, why shouldn't they make a killing. It will increase their stock value and give them more of a chance to keep pushing foward to discover more vaccines, maybe aids one day. In conclusion, it is important to know the facts and to see both sides of any decision. So, for someone who has genital warts and has suffered emotionally for a year now, trust me. This vaccine is godsent.


They most definitely are pushing it. They may be confident in the vaccine, but I am not confident just yet. There is still way too much that is not known (and that hasn't even been studied yet).

This vaccine doesn't claim to "virtually eliminate cervical cancer" as you put it. As we said, we don't think Merck is evil... just that they don't have only our best interests in mind. They have their own as well.

But for your information: Gardasil doesn't protect against the strains of HPV that cause genital warts.

Anonymous said...

As a father of three young daughters, I don't disagree with the immunologist that we will most likely eventually find out that the chance of dangerous side effects is "miniscule", but can not agree with the conclusion that, therefore, "it's morally unsupportable to hold out on the people who benefit from this vaccine any longer".

Histrionics aside, who is "holding out"? No comments I've seen here yet have been agitating for forbidding women from getting the vaccine. Rather, many would like to see it continue to be non-mandatory.

Second, how long is protection conferred? 2 years? 4 years? 6 years? How often do you need to re-vaccinate?

Finally, the math just doesn't look good from the standpoint of what we normally require before launching our mass involuntary immunization schemes. Even if the potential side effects are "miniscule", what are the benefits to society as a whole, which balance the risks to the individual, such that we are justified in forcing the individual to accept even a small risk, because doing so is for the good of society?

Do the benefits weigh in favor of involuntary immunization? What I mean is, yes, there are some 2500 women slated to die this year in the US from cervical cancer, and that is indeed horrid. If all the women in the US had been properly vaccinated against the 4 HPVs indicated in Gardasil, then some 75% of these women would have been saved (taking Merck's claims at face value). If this had all happened, what would be a woman's chance of being one of those saved? 0.0000125 to one. Does this support taking a voluntary vaccination and making it mandatory? These are cruddy odds on which to base a forced vaccination scheme.

What about money? What's 32 million women times 360 per? (Assuming it confers life-long immunity such that none need be re-vaccinated, which is yet to be established). That's 11.5 billion dollars of your tax dollars at work for the today's crop of appropriately-aged women in the US.

Is that too cold and mean? Sorry, but I think the public has better diseases on which to spend its money.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it does.

"GARDASIL was designed to target HPV types 16 and 18, which account for 70 percent of cervical cancers, and HPV types 6 and 11, which account for 90 percent of cases of genital warts. These four types also cause benign cervical changes that result in "abnormal" Pap tests."

Well, 90% of them anyway.


Yep, you're right, that was our typo. Gardasil does protect against the strains of HPV that cause most cases of genital warts.

There is another vaccine in the works, called Cervarix from GlaxoSmithKline, that only protects against the two strains of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. Cervarix is farther behind in the development process than Gardasil, but should also be on the market soon.

thorn2000 said...

My biggest fear is that my daughters' health is not what is really important but that the drug companies bottom line is the most important thing. If this was something that had been on the market for a long time, had been shown to be effective for all those that it is recommended for, that there were very few or no side effects, and that the vaccine actually prevent cancer and did not cause cancer or other problems; then I would be all for it. However this is not the case with this vaccine.

Some are trying to cloud the issue by saying that those of us who are questioning the wisdom of mandatory vaccination are just religious nuts who don't think that our daughters are ever going to have sex. Since we are not Catholic I think there is very little chance that my daughters are going to grow up to be nuns so there is a very good chance that they will have sex some time during their lifetimes. Even though it has been a long time since I lost my virginity, I think every woman will agree that had we or had we not received a vaccination that might prevent HPV was the last thing that would have been on my mind at the time.

Also if the government so concerned about the spread of HPV, then why aren't boys being forced to have the vaccinations? Is this a case of sexual discrimination? Is this grounds for challenging this ruling in Texas?

Anonymous said...

While you are all busy with your cynicism, I'm a 26-year-old woman (at the uppermost threshold of the FDA age-scale for Gardasil) fighting to *GET* the vaccine at a reasonable price. My clinic charged me a whopping $700.01 for *THE FIRST INJECTION ONLY* of Gardasil, plus an additional fee of $15.75. They were clearly expecting me to pay around $2,100 for the full course of the vaccine. Fat chance. I got a prescription, took it to the pharmacy, and paid $146 for my second injection, which will be administered free of charge by my mother, a Nurse Practictioner. I'd love to be a 12-year-old with the state paying for my vaccination. Enjoy your collective cynicism: I'm having to struggle like hell just to get the preventative health care I seek.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine is a DES daughter. The drug was very popular in the 60's. Come to find out decades later that DES daughters can't get pregnant/carry a child to full term.

Merck has no clue what the long term side effects are for Gardasil. I checked out the stats on the CDC for cervical cancer. It is nearly impossible to die from it if you are getting regular pap smears.

The thought of forcing girls to be vaccinated for HPV reeks of greed to me.

Thanks for giving a voice to the nagging doubts I've had about Gardasil. I thought I was the only one.

Anonymous said...

Great Top 10!
Here's #11: The HPV virus & proteins used in the vaccine are genetically engineered. Lots of people object to genetically engineered foods - surely they would also object to injecting genetically engineered virus particles into their little girls. There have never been any long-term safety studies on GMO vaccines - Hep B vaccine by the way is also GMO.

aesarco said...

What a great find! Your analysis and research is impressive. When I saw what the Texas governor had done, single-handedly, I was amazed and disgusted. The vaccine may be a good thing, but it should not be a mandatory thing and most importantly, shouldn't it be tested for its ability to create cancers and genetic defects? This is the year 2007, and it feels like 1897.

John T. said...

I applaude your stance on the application of testing, vaccination and accountabilty of HPV in men. The is such a taboo in our society about sexual health awareness in our society. More information needs to be available and equal testing must be demanded of the pharmaceutical industry if we are to prevent the spread of a virus that ranges from pesky to deadly.

reformed ghostwriter said...

Why is it that so many of the comments here argue the point that women should take the vaccine with blind faith?

"Echoes with the sounds of salesmen," to me.

Billions of dollars in profits each year by pharma enable them to fund large numbers of ghost writers with many fingers on keyboards tasked with surfing the web, posting comments to blogs, discussion forums, etc. to promote the pharma agenda - which is always to sell more of their products.

Reasonable people accept the informed consent approach to the HPV vaccine. Commenters with an agenda call anyone who declines or dares to question safety or efficacy lunatics.

Research the issues, decide for yourselves and your daughters about HPV vaccine, and above all else, as you're reading comments on blogs such as this, consider that the author may have an underlying agenda.

Anonymous said...

Even though only 1% of deaths in the US are caused by cervical cancer, I'd sure hate to be one of the 1%. I would also hate to have some freaky things happen to me a couple years down the line because of the vaccine. So I'll be taking the wait and see approach. In a few years, if proven effective and SAFE, I would hope most women would take advantage of it. I had 2 aunts die of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer only accounts for 4% of cancer deaths among women. I really wish Norene (at 40) or Kay (at 60) would have had a vaccine. It's awful watching people you love die - no matter what the death rate.

Anonymous said...

No comment on the topic itself, since I think the post and the comments following seem to have it covered. I just wanted to say that I sent this to every woman I know. I wanted to congratulate you on reading the fine print, and thank everyone else here who did their own research. It isn't often you find people educating themselves and sharing dialogue about what they've learned. It was a heartening contrast to read after just reading an article about a man using a stun gun on his baby.
No, seriously.

Anonymous said...

Hello Evilslutopians. Just thought you might want to know that your piece on Gardasil is still getting some mileage. It recently appeared on http://www.blogcritics.com as a response to a piece I posted on http://www.leftbrain.com. The response to the response (which translates as a response to your article) is attached:

Bob, thanks for posting the Gardasil piece from evilslutopia, they often have well presented material. As a practicing surgeon I don't think that it's a terrible thing that industry (Big Pharm, Big Medical Device, etc.) spend a lot of money on research. We work with them often to develop many new products that have saved millions of lives. The problem is there needs to be the other half of the equation, which is government investment (as in NIH funding, for example), which has been slashed under W's reign, just like all science and engineering funding has been slashed, even though that's where we get the most "bang for our buck" in tax dollars. (And no, I don't get any kickbacks from industry.) The point is, I don't have a few hundred million dollars lying around to develop new products and drugs and the government has dropped the ball, so that leaves industry as the only source of new research.

With specific regard to Gardasil, the touchiest part of this debate is whether to make it mandatory for school attendance. For progressives, this is basically a lose-lose debate; either you agree that it should be mandatory, and thus give more money to Big Pharm, or you think it should not be mandatory, in which case you're supporting the Christian Right, which is fighting this the same way they are fighting abortion, chipping away, one step at a time up until they can overturn Roe v. Wade.

As for some specific points in the piece: 3800 deaths in 2004 from cervical cancer is not an insignificant number, especially considering that they are highly preventable deaths. And although there has been a decline in deaths, with a reawakening of the sexual revolution and condom use practically spurious, it is likely we will see a resurgence. Plus, this is not a disease that kills women in their 80s or 90s, but can kill very young women. And trust me, as someone who has taken care of patients dying of this, this is not how you want to go.

Length of protection unknown: True, but also true for all vaccines. For example, in order to maintain hospital privileges I am required to have titers drawn every few years for vaccinations I have received. Trouble is, no one knows what level of titer offers protection against, for example, Hep B. So the state or county or hospital sets its own standards based on zero data. It's a complete guess. So slamming Gardasil for this is hardly fair, it's a condemnation of all vaccinations, but unless you've ever tried to actually do any of this research (I have), you have no idea how hard it is to actually get that kind of data.

Aluminum and cancer causing potential: Again, something that is true of most vaccines, but it's all about balancing risks. Saying you'd rather take a very large and known risk versus a small unknown risk makes little sense. Imagine the following scenario: You're trapped in a room and there are keys in each of two boxes, each of which has a blade that occasionally drops down and chops your hand off. The one on the left drops down about one in ten times, the one on the right drops down about one in ten million times. Which would you choose? My advice, anytime you have to calculate odds, go with the least possible chance of a bad outcome.

Tested only with Hep B: Again, this is true of most vaccines. Before slamming research as inadequate, actually try and do some of this research. Any research is painstaking, but anything that involves children (such as vaccines) is a nightmare to conduct.

Cost: It is very expensive. So is Varicella. But wait, chickenpox isn't lethal, why do we care? Because the virus doesn't go away and eventually causes shingles. Sure it's not likely to happen until you're in your 50s or older, but if you plan on living that long, let me assure you that it is beyond miserable, and can lead to blindness, facial deformity, even death. Personally, if I could go back in time and get the Varicella vaccine, I'd take it. The HPV vaccine offers a similar option for cervical cancer.

Men and HPV: I agree that more research is needed on men, but because the research hasn't been done yet doesn't mean it's not a good idea for women.

In summary, I agree with the original article's point that a well-informed decision is the best way to go. But my advice is, if you can afford it, and it's available, it's unwise to let opportunities to improve future health slip away, because odds are you will live to regret that decision.


I just wanted to give an update: We are currently compiling more information for a follow-up to this thread. (We were overwhelmed by the amount of responses!) But right now for the record, we'd like to clarify one thing that a lot of people seem to be misunderstanding:

We are not in anyway saying that this vaccine is a terrible idea or that Merck is evil or that you shouldn't get this or give it to your daughters. We're just not saying "HPV is so scary, don't waste your time researching! Go get it now!!"

We're not advocating or condemning the choice to get the Gardasil vaccine. We are simply suggestion people make informed choices. This was not titled "10 Reasons to Avoid Gardasil". It was titled "10 Things You Might Not Know About Gardasil". It is not a list of arguments against the vaccine; just a list of things you might not know but would want to know.

Anonymous said...

Too bad readers are misunderstanding your article and think you've positioned Merck as evil...I didn't read it that way at all.

Shrewd. That's the word that comes to my mind about Merck.

They are out to sell a product and people need to recognize they are being sold. Sure they may still decide after the sales pitch that they want the shots but at least, thanks to columns like yours, they're more likely to have a more complete picture about what they are choosing.

People in this country need to wake up regarding their health and the choices they make about the "health-producing" substances they put into their bodies.

See www.hundredyearlie.com and read the book if you truly want to awaken.

Your blog goes a long way toward educating people on the HPV issue. I applaud you gals!

Lori in Texas said...

Merck & Co. are LIARS. If you watch the Gardasil commercials and listen closely, you will hear them call Gardasil a "cancer vaccine." According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, Gardasil is classified as a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease - NOT as a cancer vaccine. As a matter of fact, the CDC specifically denotes that Gardasil is *not* a cancer vaccine and should not be administered or portrayed as such. Merck & Co. are blatantly lying in their televised advertisements!!! Personally, I can't believe lawsuits have not been filed about this. I can't believe they have been allowed to continue misleading the public with these false claims. But is just goes to show you who's REALLY running our government... big money and the PAC lobbyists, that's who.

Educate yourselves, folks. Do some research and don't beleive everything you see on TV.

Anonymous said...

I have a Ph.D. and practice in health and fitness. I know several surgeons and many physicians professionally and personally. Not one of them would make such a forceful statement about a new vaccine and justify the Big Pharma position about the research dollars saved/spent. The comment by the "surgeon" above seems very suspicious. As another blogger said, pharmaceutical companies pay bloggers to inject such commentary into the dialogue.

mhatrw said...

In medical cost vs. benefit modeling (which strongly informs national medical public policy making and far too strongly informs the medical policies of HMOs), the most critical component is a value called "cost per life year gained."

If the cost per life year gained is under $50,000, that is generally considered a decent investment by US medical policy makers. If "cost per life year" gained is over $100,000, that is generally considered a wasteful medical policy because that money could surely be put to much better use elsewhere. Yes, this is cruel and heartless to some degree, but wide scale medical cost allocations do need to be made and, more relevantly, are continually made using these cost plus risk vs. benefit analyses. Think HMOs. Now consider why pap smears, blood tests and urine tests aren't recommended every month for everyone. Testing monthly could definitely save more than a few lives, and there is no measurable associated medical risk. But the cost would be astronomical versus the benefit over the entire US population when comparing these monthly tests to other therapies, procedures and medicines.

Now on to GARDASIL. By the time you pay doctors a small fee to inventory and deliver GARDASIL in three doses, you are talking about paying about $500 for this vaccine. And because even in the best case scenario GARDASIL can confer protection against only 70% of cervical cancer cases, GARDASIL cannot ever obsolete the HPV screening test that today is a major component of most US women's annually recommended pap smears. These tests screen for 36 nasty strains of HPV, while GARDASIL confers protection against just four strains of HPV.

Now let's consider GARDASIL's best case scenario at the moment -- about $500 per vaccine, 100% lifetime protection against all four HPV strains (we currently have no evidence for any protection over five years), and no risk of any medical complications for any subset of the population (Merck's GARADSIL studies were too small and short to make this determination for adults, these studies used potentially dangerous alum injections as their "placebo control" and GARDASIL was hardly even tested on little kids). Now, using these best case scenario assumptions for GARDASIL, let's compare the projected situation of a woman who gets a yearly HPV screening test starting at age 18 to a woman who gets a yearly HPV screening test starting at age 18 plus the three GARDASIL injections at age 11 to 12. Even if you include all of the potential medical cost savings from the projected reduction in genital wart and HPV dysplasia removal procedures and expensive cervical cancer procedures, medicines and therapies plus all of the indirect medical costs associated with all these ailments and net all of these savings against GARDASIL's costs, the best case numbers for these analyses come out to well over $200,000 per life year gained -- no matter how far the hopeful pro-GARDASIL assumptions that underpin these projections are tweaked in GARDASIL's favor.

Several studies have been done, and they have been published in several prestigious medical journals:


None of these studies even so much as consider a strategy of GARDASIL plus a regimen of annual HPV screenings starting at age 18 to be worth mentioning (except to note how ridiculously expensive this would be compared to other currently recommended life extending procedures, medicines and therapies) because the cost per life year gained is simply far too high. What these studies instead show is that a regimen of GARDASIL plus delayed (to age 22, 25 or 28) biennial or triennial HPV screening tests may -- depending on what hopeful assumptions about GARDASIL's long term efficacy and risks are used -- hopefully result in a modest cost per life year savings compared to annual HPV screening tests starting at age 18.

If you don't believe me about this, just ask any responsible OB-GYN or medical model expert. If anyone wants the references, I can provide them.

Now, why do I think all of this is problematic?

1) Nobody is coming clean (except to the small segment of the US population that understands medical modeling) that the push for widespread mandatory HPV vaccination is based on assuming that we can use the partial protection against cervical cancer that these vaccines hopefully confer for hopefully a long, long time period to back off from recommending annual HPV screening tests starting at age 18 -- in order to save money, not lives.

2) Even in the best case scenario, the net effect is to give billions in tax dollars to Merck so HMOs and PPOs can save billions on HPV screening tests in the future.

3) These studies don't consider any potential costs associated with any potential GARDASIL risks. Even the slightest direct or indirect medical costs associated with any potential GARDASIL risks increase the cost per life year gained TREMENDOUSLY and can even easily change the entire analysis to cost per life year lost. Remember that unlike most medicines and therapies, vaccines are administered to a huge number of otherwise healthy people -- and, at least in this case, 99.99% of whom would never contract cervical cancer even without its protection.

4) These studies don't take in account the fact that better and more regular HPV screening tests have reduced the US cervical cancer rate by about 25% a decade over the last three decades and that there is no reason to believe that this trend would not continue in the future, especially if we used a small portion of the money we are planning on spending on GARDASIL to promote free annual HPV screening tests for all low income uninsured US women.

5) The studies assume that any constant cervical cancer death rate (rather than the downward trending cervical cancer death rate we have today) that results in a reduced cost per life year gained equates to sound medical public policy.

As I said before, if any of you don't believe me about this, please simply ask your OB-GYN how the $500 cost of GARDASIL can be justified on a cost per life year gained basis if we don't delay the onset of HPV screening tests and back off from annual HPV screening tests to biennial or triennial HPV screening tests.

The recommendations are already in:


The USPSTF strongly recommends screening for cervical cancer in women who have been sexually active and have a cervix.

Rating: A recommendation.

Rationale: The USPSTF found good evidence from multiple observational studies that screening with cervical cytology (Pap smears) reduces incidence of and mortality from cervical cancer. Direct evidence to determine the optimal starting and stopping age and interval for screening is limited. Indirect evidence suggests most of the benefit can be obtained by beginning screening within 3 years of onset of sexual activity or age 21 (whichever comes first) and screening at least every 3 years (go to Clinical Considerations). The USPSTF concludes that the benefits of screening substantially outweigh potential harms.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI but I have HVP and I only had two partners, neither showed any signs. I got it right before the vaccine came out I only wish I had had the chance to get the vacine, because I now have cervical cancer. YOu never know what can happen, but being prepared for the worst is Aways the best way to go!

Anonymous said...

Here is my experience with HPV: I got it twice while in college in the early 90s. I know the exact 2 guys I got it from and had around 20 or so partners during that 4 year period. In both cases I went to student health and the doctor seemed to think it was no big deal - genital warts on my cervix - she knew exactly what to do. She put something on the warts to burn them off or something. They stopped itching immediately and that was the end of that in both cases. This happened more than 15 years ago and I've only had a mildly abnormal PAP one time since and that was during pregnancy which is common - the paps were normal after that. I do know a young lady who had cervical cancer in her mid 20's and had to have a portion of her cervix removed. I would say that a key difference between the 2 of us is that our diets differ drastically. She eats like a bird and eats all packaged goods with every fat free processed food you can imagine loaded with artificial and non-nutritive ingredients and I eat whole foods, organic produce and prepare most meals from scratch versus tearing open boxes. I believe how our bodies handle all disease is influenced and largely determined by the state of our being which is a function of our diet and lifestyle. Food for thought - literally.

Anonymous said...

LOVE your info! Thank you. As a mother to 2 boys, this clearly won't be an issue for me, but as a woman I am sickened that some states are forcing this! Where do we live? The middle east where women have no rights? Its disgusting. There are no long term studies on this vaccine so who knows down the road if it will cause birth defects, or infertility etc... Something sounds very sketchy here. I will send a link to your blog to my friends who do have daughters and are just as concerned about this issue.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I'm happy researchers have found the connection between viruses and cancer. Celebrate that advance in human health.

I am not a ghost writer for "Big Pharma," but I am glad they are making boodles of money with each successful line of research. I believe free markets will do more good than harm in the long run.

Let drug researchers have their profits, because they need the money to continue the research. I'd rather pay for the research with my paid prescriptions than with my withheld taxes, that's for sure! I expect "Big Pharma" to solve more mysteries, but they'll need profits in order to continue the research. I prefer that the money comes from private sources rather than from the government.

If "Big Pharma" is only in it for the money and has no concern for people's health, then I suppose "Big Auto" is only in it for the money and has no concern for people's transportation. Well, so what? Frankly, I don't give a crap if "Big Pharma" or "Big Auto" are greedy, so long as they keep putting life saving drugs and dependable cars in my hands.

If someone were to be given the power to regulate the amount of profits any company can earn (an implied supposition whenever anyone accuses another of being greedy), then I'm certain we'd have fewer choices in drugs, cars, clothes, homes, clothing, jewelry, food ... you name it, we'd have less of it. And we'd still be spending as much or more (as a percentage of our incomes) on the limited choices left to us.

Informed consent for the purchase of any goods or services should not focus on the providers' profit margins. That may be the concern of some folks, while others may be concerned about "country of origin," but those considerations really are external to the matter of the quality and efficacy of the goods and services provided.

The bottom line is that if some providers are asking too much for their goods and services, then competitors will fill the market with cheaper alternatives.

As for mandatory shots in schools, you all still have the right to opt out, and you don't have to homeschool to do it. Schools want one of two types of documents on file for each child in attendance: either an up-to-date shot record, or a statement from the guardian stating that the shots have been rejected. Oddly, the shot record is self-reported, so any parent could just say their children on current on their shots and they'd probably get away with it.

We've got two daughters, one 3, the other 5. Fortunately, this gives us time to monitor Gardasil for a few years before we have to decide. Perhaps men and boys will also be able to get the shots by the time our daughters become sexually active.


We never said that Merck has "no concern" for our health... just that we have to remember that it is not their only concern.

As for profits... yes, the more money they make, the more they can continue to research. However, let's not pretend that all of their cancer research is for the good of the people either. They want to find the next big cancer vaccine or cancer drug. I'm sure much less of their money goes toward researching "cures" or preventions that can't be patented.

A previous commenter has written this and I agree: I believe how our bodies handle all disease is influenced and largely determined by the state of our being which is a function of our diet and lifestyle.

How much of that really is a factor into preventing cervical cancer (without the means of an HPV vaccine) that Merck will likely never research because you can't patent a "healthy lifestyle"?

It's true that informed consent for the purchase of any goods or services shouldn't focus on the providers' profit margins. However, it does put into perspective where some of their motivation lies. Especially since the "goods" we're talking about are going directly into our bodies.

As for "opting out" of the mandatory vaccines... it's only a matter of time until that's not an easy option. Just wait. Hopefully by then, Merck will have worked out the details they don't know yet about Gardasil.

Rob said...

I'm a male Medical Student who intends to get the vaccine.

Wow, lots of comments. A number of my friends have wound up with "Irregular cell" during their PAP smear due to HPV. Very tramatizing. I hope never to pass this diease on to anyone I care about, so I intend to become immunized.

Cervical cancer is low because women in the US have access to regular PAP smears, and when that fails, Hysterectomy. A Hysterectomy is the complete removal of the cervix, uterus, and ovararies. A Hysterectomy is performed every 50 seconds in the US. http://www.nuff.org/health_statistics.htm

I personally believe that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of the vaccine.

I also believe is does cross the line to force school girls to receive a vaccine, but at the same time, I believe it is a female's right to choose at ANY AGE.

I hope a "Planned Parenthood"-like organization can organize a way for teens to receive the vaccine free of charge without their parents knowledge.

We need to admit to ourselves that young women have sexual contact without their parents knowledge at very young ages, and this will not change. This contact could even occur at a safe place like a Church Social. "Heavy Petting" is not discluded for transmission of this disease! It does not have to be sex.

But make it is up to you to make your own informed decision. I recognize that any new drug does have it's risks. We must decide with an honest mind which risk is the greater. I have decided that I rather risk a new drug than live with the guilt of transmitting a fatal (but more likely traumatizing and possible life altering) disease.

And here's to freedom of choice, unless you live in Texas (which is sadly my home state).

Anonymous said...

Informed consent has little to do with profits and everything to do with disclosure of exactly what the vaccine is along with its known risks and benefits. For a great read on informed consent specific to HPV vaccine see:


Anonymous said...

I am a 23 year old and I was diagnosed with HPV about 7 years ago. my first trip to the gyno was when it was first detected. After that all of my pap results have been normal and there was no sign of the HPV. I recently saw a cancer preventative specialist and she informed me that most women end up fighting off the infection as opposed to getting cancer from it. She said I'm a great candidate for the Gardasil shot. After doing some research because my main concern is adverse side effects, the only thing that worried me is that in a study some girls lost conciosness and seizures. I am an extremely paranoid person when it comes to foreign drugs in my body. I read what you wrote about the alluminum ingredient but I just want to know how popular and serious the immediate side effects can be from this shot. I'm seriously considering turning it down due to a page described to not get the shot if you are allergic to gardasil but how can I know that unless I find out the hard way?

Anonymous said...

Okay this is graphic but here goes. One way to avoid HPV infection is to get a good feel of your prospective partner before having intercourse. What you are looking for is small scratchy bumps. You might even notice these if you have oral sex first. These may be genetal warts so beware. I learned the hard way. I felt the bumps during intercourse - it feels a little bit like the scratchiness of one of those cheesy ribbed condoms. If you feel this scratchy feeling on your partners penis you could be feeling his genital warts scrubbing the walls of your vagina. As my mom used to say, "you gotta look under their toenails." Well in this case it's not the feet you need to check but the penis shaft and around the head of the penis and if you feel little raised bumps stick to a hand job!! I know from experience! My HPV cleared on its own with a little help from an STD clinic - no residual issues and no pap problems.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

I Come from Australia (where we do not yet have the vaccine avail - will be July this year).

Here the vaccine will be free for all women under 26.

There are many different strains of this virus (hundreds in fact) - and only a few of then cause Cervical Cancer (4). The vaccine is not going to stop HPV - it is going to stop the strains that lead to cervical cancer.

The reason that cervical cancer rates are going down is due to women having regular pap-smears and catching the cancer early - so that it is still treatable.

Also, there is a test for HPV for men, in Aust at least, it involves a cotton bud...

I don't want to get cervical cancer and anything that has been medically proven to even REDUCE my chances of getting this horrible disease sounds good to me.


Char said...

I just did a post on this subject too - as a mom I have a lot of questions!! Your post offered information from a different point of view than I have seen. Thank you.

The discussion on the HPV topic is going on at:

I'd love for you to stop in and share your link and input.

Anonymous said...

Vaccines have surely been lifesaving to children over the years..and certainly there were parents who due to lack of education might have refused them had they not been required. This vaccine seems to fall into a different sort of category. Vaccines can be a two edged sword for some as well...the few that may have a violent reaction. I know first hand as I had a near fatal reaction to the required smallpox vaccine in 1963. Required vaccines served the purpose of keeping children from spreading potentially dangerous and easily spread diseases out of the school system and community. Hopefully there is not a great deal of sexual intercourse going on at school. If it were my child I would talk to my pediatrician and I would keep my eyes and ears open for a bit. I have no religious issues with protecting children against disease but I would have safety issues. In my very humble opinion...not enough information is in for any State to require that a child take this vaccine. If they want to OFFER it, fine. Require it? No way.

Anonymous said...

I shall remain anonymous, just like the many well paid ghost writers out there spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about Gardasil.

Read the information from Merck and the FDA. Research for more information from medical institutes. The facts are out there (and you need to know the facts).

It's your daughter's health and future. Do not place it in Merck's hands. Do not place it in the FDA. It's in your hands.

supercheetah said...

Someone addressed all your points here.

Here is a copy:

And the information on the 10 things you might know is wrong.

1. The blog states the vaccine only decreases the chance--that's wrong. If you have not been previously infected with HPV then there is a 100% effective rate.

2. In 2007 the incidence of cervical cancer went up.

3. Yep, it is the most expensive, however it is the ONLY vaccine which prevent cancer and DEATH. (And yeah it made $70 million, chump change for a company which made $22 billion in 2006).

4. Wrong. Gardasil is already a part of this program. Having a mandate will not change liability at all.

5. There is 5 year data now with another 3 1/2 year data prior to the launch of the drug; that's 8 1/2 years of data now.

6. This is true, however, in the current data there has been no wane in the immunity; and vaccines typically never need booster shots due to the way vaccines work.

7. Yes, neither was any other drug on the market.

8. Pure speculation. There has been no proof that aluminum is harmful. Gardasil was tested with Hepatitis B because it has the same aluminum compound and has been on the market for 19 years.

9. There are currently studies going on with boys and safety data is already available for boys in the label. Also, the EU and Australia are already using on boys.

10. It's ironic that the blog ends with making an uninformed decision when all the facts are wrong on the site.

Yeah, this seems like a shrill for Gardasil but I have personal knowledge of this drug and sometimes setting the facts straight on a drug which is saving lives need some truth out there among the free range blogs which aren't providing accurate information.


Thanks for the link. Looks like an interesting debate going on over there, including some people refuting the points made by this commenter.

Some of those points are clearly inaccurate, misleading, or unsubstantiated...the "100% effective rate" is only against the 4 strains of HPV that the vaccine is designed to protect against, which is not the same as being 100% effective against all HPV or all cervical cancer...the claim that cervical cancer rates went up in 2007--aren't we only two months into 2007, and where are these numbers coming from?...the inaccurate claim that Merck won't make all that much money from Gardasil...the claim that Gardasil is the only vaccine that can prevent death, which I'm sure would be news to many doctors and parents who have been giving children vaccines designed to prevent other potentially fatal diseases for years...the claim that booster shots are almost never necessary...

Of course, this is the reason why the bottom line of our post was to do your own research. We're not asking anyone to take anything in our blog at face value, just like we don't take any blog/comment/article/whatever that we read at face value. Check it out for yourself, and decide what's right for you.

We've been following all of the coverage of Gardasil, and a lot of new information has come out since we wrote this piece. We're finishing up a follow-up, which will hopefully be up sometime this week.

Anonymous said...

Hi Evil Slutopia! You're the top search on google-How neat!

Anyways- I found this very interesting too.. Following the Money Trail for Gardasil......

Rick Perry, the man who made the Gardasil vaccine a requirement for school girls in Texas... His former Cheif of Staff Mike Toomy is 1 of 3 Merck Lobbists in Texas.
Rick Perry's current Cheif of Staff's Mother in Law-Republican Representative Diane White Delisis is the State Director for Women in Government.
Women in Government is an advocasy group made up of female State Legislators.. Women in Government is REALLY pushing the mandation across the board....

Thought you'd find that intersting.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I also thought you'd find it interesting that it breaks down to you have to vax 272 girls to possibly prevent 1 case.

There's also speculation about there being 100 strains of HPV, and the effectiveness of the vaccine if someone already has 1 of the other strains.

We also have to keep in mind the stated fact that there have been at least 5 cases of children born with birth defects to women who had Gardasil around the time of conception..

Adverse reactions are pretty severe when you think of the number of women who have been vaccinated.. And yet we still don't know the long term impact on health.. Any vax changes your immune system forever.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Gardasil got FDA approval for girls as young as 9 years old, given the limited tests they performed at that age level, when they can’t prove that the effects will last more than four years and the number of sexually active girls this young is so low, or at least it should be?

What is the rush?

Savannah said...

i just got the first shot today.. one of my friends has a type of HPV and thats reason for getting it.. if its gonna prevent me from getting cervical cancer then im going to do it. also my best friends mom died of cervical cancer and now her stepmom has it. i guess personal experiences made me want to get it and you're insurance will cover most if not all of it. id rather be safe than sorry and they wouldnt approve of something and make it mandatory in some states if they didnt have full confidence in it.

Anonymous said...

Just thought you all should know that you arent very educated on this topic. MAybe if you all went to a health care provider you would understand. THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN CONTRACT HPV FROM THE VACCINE!!!!! And the vaccine has nothing to do with fertility it is targeted towards the virus not the female reproduction system. For your information the vaccine is made of the protein coats of the virus that causes HPV so there is no live DNA strains that could possibly infect the vaccinated individual. Unlike the other vaccines your children get there this is not a weakened form of the virus!

I thought that I would tell you all that I know a lot more about this because I am in the middle of a term paper about it and the public reaction to it. I thought I'd suggest that you read scientific journals and credible sources insteaad of listening to misleading news and other post. These journals have the real facts about this vaccine. So those of you who think you are educated should prob rethink that and look at the biological side of the issue if you really care to know the truth.


Thank you so much for that slightly condescending comment about our supposed ignorance on the subject, including the incorrect assumption that we didn't go to a health care provider as well.

There are other medical issues and side effects that may result from Gardasil other than contracting HPV from it. (We never alleged that you could get HPV from the vaccine... although some studies have suggested that receiving Gardasil is you are already infected with another strain of HPV can make you more susceptible to pre-cancer).

Also, while animal reproductive toxicology studies haven't shown evidence of Gardasil impairing fertility, there have been cases of women who were vaccinated and then delivered a baby with a birth defect.

You can find issues with Gardasil in both "credible" medical journals as well as from alternative sources. But you're writing a term paper, so you must be the highest authority there is on the "truth" about Gardasil.

Anonymous said...

I would call it ignorance. I think it's funny how you get to decide what post are displayed or not on this site. That fact right there proves that you have the authority to sway peoples oppinions towards opposing the vaccine. As a matter of fact try going and speaking to the people who have worked with the vaccine and helped discover it. Yea then tell me if you aren't ignorant!!!

supercheetah said...

Alright, let me play devil's advocate here.

If this vaccine works, would it not be downright unethical to not administer this to the general populace? Small pox has been eliminated (with the exception of some samples in highly secured cold storages), and the same could become true of the four types of HPV this vaccine protects against.

If we have the capability to eliminate some types of HPV from the planet in the same manner we did with small pox, should we not do so?


In response to supercheetah: We think the vaccine should be available to everyone (although we wouldn't mind if they'd done a little more testing to make sure it really was safe for everyone). But we don't think it should be mandatory, especially not at this point.


In response to anonymous ignorant poster:
Um... what? We approve all comments on this blog, even the ones that are contradictory to our opinions. (Just read). We only have them moderated to prevent spam posts.

We do not try to sway anyone's opinions... we just try not to allow the media to sway them either. We have NEVER stated that someone shouldn't get the vaccine. We simply feel that everyone should get information (from both sides - not just from the people who have a vested interested in Gardasil) and make an informed decision on their own.

The information one receives from the people who "discovered" the vaccine is comparable to that one receives from Gardasil.com and other sources advocating the vaccine. We've heard about how great it is. We are simply trying to let the other voices on the issue be heard as well, because no matter how great they think it is... other people do not agree.

Your comment is a sign of your ignorance and closed-mindedness. Read the blog again... we're only trying to give people access to information they won't get on the Merck website.

Mamastacia3 said...


Well, I am also writing a paper on this topic, but I have a different take than anonymous!

Seems like you all have things covered here, but just a few extra facts:

Gardasil contains Polysorbate 80 (also known as Tween 80), it says so right on the package insert. You can look it up yourself, but basically, Polysorbate 80 is a suspected carcinogen, and proven to have estrogenic effects on lab rats.

Is this a substance we want injected into the bodies of prepubescent girls?

How will all of those trusting parents who believe that Merck has their children's best health interests at heart feel, if years from now this becomes a disaster the likes of DES or Thalidomide?? Oh, and they can't sue Merck then, because a mandated vaccine is exempt from federal prosecution for liability. Is it making more sense now why they rushed to get this mandated? Why do people just assume that if a vaccine is out there, then of course "it will save lives!" and not even ask ay questions before subjecting the most precious people in their lives to experimentation?

Also, another thing that bugs me, even if I take the giant leap and say that maybe it actually works (which just does not seem to be true, given my research). But hey, bear with me. Merck itself says that the vaccine efficacy is good for 5 years. The incubation period between a case of HPV becoming cervical cancer (which it does, btw, in one hundredth of one percent of adult women who've gotten HPV)is 15-20 years. The average age of a woman with cervical cancer is 47 - and the average age of contracting the HPV virus that MAY have given her cancer is mid-thirties. So what the heck are they advocating 11 year olds get this vaccine for? Ooh, I know! So that Merck can charge another buttload of money to get boosters!

I have a nine-year-old daughter, and there is no way she is ever getting this vaccine.

Please, if you're a parent, do what you think is best, but be damn sure that YOU are the one making the decision, not a fricking pharmaceutical company!!


-Mamastacia :)

Anonymous said...

Why does the age range end at 26?

sarahmatic said...

To the anonymous mother to 2 boys and to whom this "clearly won't be an issue"...boys can get HPV. Where do you think women get it from? It is not occur spontaneously. There is even a connection between HPV and Penile and Anal Cancers. So your kids could grow up and become infected, infect others, put women at risk for developing cancer, and/or put their male partners and themselves at risk for developing cancer. It very well COULD be an issue. I think everything on this board has been great thought and research provoking material, but of all of it, I thought your comment about your boys clearly not being an issue was totally ignorant and shortsighted.

Anonymous said...

The age range ends at 26 because that was the upper limit of the clinical studies. Therefore, insurances likely won't cover the costs of the immunization once a woman is older than that until additional trials are completed. It does not, however, mean it has less efficacy or should not be administered. The creation of a new vaccine or medication until FDA approval takes close to twenty years. It always pays to be skeptical, but it would pay to examine the human subject research methodology and FDA approval process as well, particularly before making so many published statements that many are likely to take to heart.


There are many issues with the testing (that we will address further in our follow-up) that cause us to be even more skeptical.

Steve said...

Can ANYONE here answer just one simple question? WHY should it be passed into law that this vaccine is mandatory? That's all I want to know. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

As a European I've read with interest the vast array of comments on the new HPV vaccine. I'm also delighted to see that cervical cancer is on the decrease within the states which I commend you on. Unfortunately in the UK, Cervical Cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in women under the age of 35 which means that approximately 21 women die each WEEK in the UK. Not good and devastating to the families affected as the disease leaves children without mothers, husbands without wifes and parents without children. What we shouldn't forget here is that we're talking about a vaccine that 'prevents cancer'for goodness sake! What have our scientists been searching for years, for 'a cure for cancer'. This might be a small step for a less prevalent cancer than say breast, but it's a step in the right direction and I for one are delighted that drug companies are there for me. As some bloggers have stated, the human pappilomavirus is common and 80% of women will contract it in their lifetime and about 90% of these women will never experience any effects from the virus, but what about the other 10%?? Gardasil also protects against other diseases associated with HPV 16 & 18, which I haven't seen much mention of. Google vaginal cancers images!!!! Google genital warts images!!!! which Gardasil also helps prevent.As far as long term data is concerned, their studies demonstrate that after 5 years their efficacy is sustained, this is just the sort of picture that you'd see with any other vaccine on the market which ultimately has long term effects. At the moment in the UK, our government is still humming and hahhing over whether to provide guidance and funding to our general practioners which means that as the weeks go by we've exposed another 21 women to a death sentence. Whilst I don't agree that it should be compulsory as it seems to be in some of your states, I welcome a quick decision from our government and my 16 year old daughter will be at the front of the cue.

Anonymous said...

People that blindly follow these drug makers should take heed. But hell, like mindless drones people flock to whatever these companies fill their gulible minds with.

Nic said...

1. The vaccine prevents HPV - other types of cervical cancer are sporadic mutations in the cell lining. So if you give yourself an 80% chance of reducing the risk why not? There is no 100% cure unless it's some kind of non mutating bacteria... like smallpox. That was completely wiped off the planet with the vaccine.

2. who cares if cervical cancer is on the decline? It's only because we've been educating children on safe sex. But there can always be one manwhore who can ruin it by having a little happy spree. Like that guy in MD a few years back that decided spreading AIDS was his revenge to woman.

3. After all the pictures of nasty vagina's and cancerous growths that can happen in my tender zone, 360 is nothing

4. wait a couple years if your skeptical, you should never try a new DRUG on the market. But this is a vaccine - it's making your body aware of the nasties that can happen. Not pumping it full of beta blockers or TXA inhibititors (like aspirin, that has lots of side effects, do you use it?)

5. i agree, they should follow up more

6. also agreed, tests should be done on younger willing applicants before the drug becomes mandatory (which i still think is a good idea, who wants warts? - gross.)

7. known genotoxin: alcohol
- it ruins the epithelial lining of your esophagus
known carcinogen: smoking
- causes the effed up cells in your esophagus to continue producing more effed up cells
But meh, maybe they should do a study on it. They'll be making enough money.

8. i.e. more testing before it becomes mandatory

9. men need a vaccine, they don't usually have symptoms and can spread HPV - but I hear they're working on it

10. I disagree, sexually active females SHOULD get the vaccine - but the whole mandatory part for minors needs to be worked out. It really is for the best.


Just a quick response to nic:

Re: 2. If our children are in fact practicing safe sex, then a "manwhore" such as you described wouldn't pose less risk to them than a man who doesn't know he has HPV (more likely). Cervical cancer is on the decline also due to pap tests and other screenings.

Re: 4. Some of the ingredients in Gardasil are questionable, so while it might not pose the same risks as say, Vioxx, I do believe it's a little too soon (read: not enough testing has been done) to give it to children. I wouldn't give a child aspirin either.

Re: 7. I wouldn't given children alcohol or cigarettes either, ha! No one believes that there are any health benefits to smoking cigarettes, they know the risks yet do it anyway. We're not saying Gardasil should be illegal or off the market (nor should alcohol/cigarettes). We're just that it shouldn't be mandatory and that people should know the full extent of their risks before getting it (as they do with alcohol and cigarettes).

Re: 10. We're not saying sexually active females shouldn't get the vaccine. Just that not all of them should. They should make their own decisions based on the full-spectrum of information not just the "oh my god you don't want to get... cancer do you!?" scare tactic.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to get more informed, a little AFTER the fact, but it is really hard to know WHAT to believe and what not to believe.

I have a 14 year old daughter who went in to our Dr. for another issue in mid January and was told she was in need of/was eligible for a few vaccines. She was given a tetanus booster (DPT actually) which she was due for and also her first Gardasil shot. I SHOULD have told them I'd think about the Gardasil vaccine (I'd seen the ads on tv but that is about all) but I let them administer that first shot, knowing it might be a while before I was back in the office. Then, AFTER the shot was given, I found out the cost of it and that most insurances would not cover it. I had NO idea it would cost near the amount it did, guess I should be glad at this point that it wasn't more than the $84 I was charged. Irresponsible of me to not ask the cost in the first place, I know, but the Dr. had convinced me it was the best thing I could do for my daughter and I was only focusing on my daughter's long term health and not the cost of the preventive measure being taken. See, here's the rub, if you DON'T get your daughter vaccinated, and she DOES get HPV and subsequently, cervical cancer, you'll wonder if you could have prevented it with the vaccine. (Don't forget the statistic on rapes in this country/world! As hard as it is to say, I can never completely guarantee she will not ever be a victim of rape and that that person/monster will not infest her with some disease, maybe even HPV.) So it is like buying insurance, you may never need it, but you may also seriously regret not having it someday. HOWEVER, I am becoming less and less convinced that this "insurance" is worth the expense/risks right now, when weighing all the odds and facts. Another dilemma I have is that I don't want my daughter to get the message that money is more important than her health? If the vaccine is only guaranteed for 5 years right now, I can honestly tell her it hasn't been out on the market long enough for me to feel confident that I am doing the right thing by letting her get anymore shots. I don't really have the comfort of "waiting" for long, since she is in the age range already, although I do know she is not dating at all, much less sexually active. I am not so naive as to believe she will remain "pure as the driven" snow and have the same limited sexual experiences I had as teenager. I hope she makes the right choices but I can't give a 100% guarantee that she won't make some bad ones too, nobody can.

Enough stream of consciousness, if I sound a bit confused, I am. My main question is this, if she only has the first of the 3 shots, is there any protection given or does she HAVE to have at least one more booster? Does anybody here know or have a link that can answer this particular question? Right now, she has an appointment this Friday to get her second shot of Gardasil. I did find out from my Dr's nurse that she has 30-90 days to get the second shot. I'm debating as to whether I should cancel this appointment or not and just wait a few more years and start the series over as a more informed mother, seeing then what the studies indicate the vaccine will last. Seems like most vaccines are only good for about 10 years usually. Also, if my state does mandate it eventually, then surely insurance would HAVE to cover it.

Obviously I am not against vaccines, but I do wonder if the FDA isn't too quick to approve drugs or vaccines that we later find out are bad for us in some way. I wish politics were not involved in our health care but it seems we are forced to deal with the reality that our health care system is steeped in politics and sometimes our health is not the first priority given.

Anonymous said...

I am an md-phd student and have been following the gardasil debate with much interest.

I would like to get the vaccine in large part because there is no substantiated evidence of harm from this and other vaccines on the market, and reading some of the original research papers did suggest many benefits.

Personally i don't give a shit about whether this will help the evil pharma empire make money or not. I am more concerned about my own body. Having fewer precancerous lesions means a decreased chance of getting cervical cancer down the road, yes only 3-4000 women in the US die from cervical cancer, but there are many other unpleasant aspects of having HPV.

Developing genital warts, getting them frozen off, having cervical biopsies or cervical cononization all sound like pretty awful situations that i would prefer to avoid. I had a colposcopy/cervical biopsy once, i was crying and almost passed out it was so painful, thank god the results were negative, i have much sympathy for people who have had the other kinds of related procedures.

Sure it would be nice if my next partner or my husband someday hasn't slept around, but reality is that people just aren't usually so pure. Many/most people do have HPV by their early 30s and it usually causes fewer problems in men so he might not even realize it.

I agree it is too expensive, and will probably have to pay out of pocket since i am over 26. But so what, one month's rent in the bigger picture of my own health might be worthwhile. Thanks to "anonymous" for the tip about getting the prescription, which means the drug costs are down to $146/shot, which brings the total cost close to $450.

Not really convinced that the DES analogy is in any way a relevant comparison. Yes, diethylstilberol caused terrible problems, but it is a completely different compound than what is in these vaccines. Yes, it is possible that there could also be unknown components of this vaccine that are toxic that were missed in the original study. But there are a million dangers you face every day... every street you cross, each medicine you take and "natural" supplement you add to your tea, and the question is whether these unproven theoretical vaccine fears really outweigh the documented problems associated with the four preventable hpv types.

Do i really want to wait another 10-20 years to learn more and possibly get an infection in the meantime? No, not really. Just need to find a provider in NYC that actually offers the thing.

Anonymous said...

So I read through your whole blog, I just got the first shot and got really sick from it, and was just looking up the side effects, I noticed that they say "ask your doctor" on the gardasil website, if they really do know what the side effects are don't you think they'd post them? I think it's bullshit, but my mom talked me into it, I guess the side effects now outweigh the side effects of actually getting the disease. I totally agree with your statement at the end though that you decided not to get it, you're going to prevent HPV by yourself by making no uninformed decisions. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could wait and see what the long term effects of this vaccine are, but I'm reaching the upper limits of the age standard, and I'm already sexually active..I'm still struggling trying to decide what to do. I have a friend whose mother is dying of cervical cancer and it kills me to see what she's going through, but I have a somewhat less than efficent immune system and I dont know if I could handle significant bodily damage. My Dr. seems to think the vaccine would be ok, but of course it's up to me. How can I trust myself to know what to do with my body?

Sara said...

Actually Australia has approved the vaccine for boys 9-15, however they aren't providing government funding towards it.

Good point though.

Une Montagne-Russe said...

I would just like to say something about this piece.

You said :"2. Even without the vaccine, the number of cervical cancer cases is trending downward and has been for years. (This is only true in the U.S.; worldwide it is one of the top cancer killers of women because women in many other countries have limited access to Pap tests and other health services."

I'm from Canada and Pap test here are free and easy to get. And a lot of other health services are too.

I don't think that Gardasil is being given in school, but a big part of the insurance cover it.

In fact, because we have a public health system, evething here is cheaper and easier to get.

Just wanted to let know that little fact that seem to have slip your mind.

Anonymous said...

I just came back from my pharmacy, where I learned that my insurance provider would in fact NOT be subsidizing Gardasil's offensively high price tag. Thank you for your thoughtful and well-researched article. While I have yet to arrive at a final decision, I appreciate your work in highlighting some very important points in this controversial issue.

Anonymous said...

Hi...I am doing a persuasive speech in my English class and my topic is the Gardasil vaccine. I would love to use your site/information for my speech, however, I need some citings from your site (i.e. the author and the date it was posted). This is just standard MLA Format and your information will not be used in any other way, shape or form, other than for me citing an informational source. Thank you for your time, and I hope to use your site.



Maria-we have no problem at all with you using the info in our blog for your speech. We would ask that you just list the author as Anonymous--we know 'Evil Slut Clique' might not go over so well as an academic source, but we'd like to keep our real names to ourselves for now until this blog becomes insanely popular and allows us to quit our day jobs and be independently wealthy and carefree. (Should be any day now.)

Or you could just be creative and make up an abbreviation that sounds academic-ish, like 'ESC Feminist Collective' or something ;-) Good luck with the speech!

Anonymous said...

Below is the "disclosure list," cut and pasted from today's (5/10/07) New England Journal of Medicine, Headlined: "Quadrivalent Vaccine against Human Papillomavirus to Prevent High-Grade Cervical Lesions."

This is the "tiny type" at the bottom of the research article that indentifies who may have a financial conflict/interest. It is important to note that even though someone may have a conflict - it is impossible for us (common-folk) to KNOW who's actually telling the TRUTH. Which is exactly why this blog is so valuable. It, at very least, gives us a forum to TALK. So thanks for that.

Drs. Barr, Boslego, Bryan, Esser, Lupinacci, Gause, Sings, and Taddeo and Ms. Hesley and Ms. Thornton report being either current or former employees of Merck and having an equity interest or holding stock options in the company. Drs. Bosch, Thoresen, Skjeldestad, Kjaer, Brown, Villa, Majewski, Kurman, Dillner, Sigurdsson, Olsson, Ault, Myers, García, Perez, Paavonen, Hernandez-Avila, and Muñoz report receiving consulting fees from or serving on paid advisory boards for Merck. Dr. Ault also reports receiving consulting fees from and serving on an advisory board for Gen-Probe and receiving grant support from GlaxoSmithKline. Dr. Bosch also reports receiving consulting fees from or serving on advisory boards for GlaxoSmithKline and Digene, receiving lecture fees from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, and receiving research grants from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline through his institution for both vaccine clinical trials and epidemiologic studies. Drs. Ault, Brown, Villa, Dillner, Olsson, Kjaer, Tay, Ferris, Paavonen, Majewski, and Muñoz report receiving lecture fees from Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, and Merck Sharp & Dohme. Indiana University and Merck have a confidential agreement that pays the university on the basis of certain landmarks regarding the HPV vaccine. Dr. Brown receives a portion of these structured payments. Dr. Skjeldestad reports receiving funding from Merck for natural history studies of HPV infection. Dr. Myers reports receiving funding from Merck for conducting modeling studies of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the vaccine in different settings. Drs. Perez, Kjaer, Lehtinen, Paavonen, Sigurdsson, Hernandez-Avila, Skjeldestad, Thoresen, García, Tay, Dillner, Olsson, Ault, Brown, Ferris, Koutsky, and Myers report receiving funding from Merck through their respective institutions to conduct clinical trials of this vaccine.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for starting this discussion. I'm trying to decide if I should take the vaccine, and have been reading all sides of the debate. I haven't made up my mind yet. You made some good points, and I'm going to discuss them with my doctor. One thing I noticed, however, is that your responses to some of the comments are a bit too aggressive. You seem to take counter arguments a bit personally. You're doing good work here, and we all need more of this. Please keep this debate vibrant and healthy by staying calm and not getting offended or belittling others who may criticize you.

Anonymous said...

1. There is no tone of voice on the internet, so please do not assume that we are taking anything "personally" or that our comments are "aggressive" or that we are in any way "offended".

2. We only get annoyed by comments that imply that we are "being horribly irresponsible by telling everyone to avoid this vaccine". We're doing neither. We're not telling anyone NOT to get the vaccine. So yes, maybe we seem to be "belittling" someone who responds in such ignorant responses.

3. Other than that, we are very open to friendly debate on this subject. That's the whole point! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your article. The commercials are a little too perky - but I have a daughter in the targeted age group. I had already decided to wait because there are no long term studies. She and I discussed it as something we need to seriously consider before she becomes sexually active but it seems an unnecessary risk at her age.
She's still not old enough to be on her own yet - sex is not a risk at the moment.

I realize that will change. But, we don't have to make a decision right now.

I can't say what I would choose for her if she were already a teenager.

I might feel differently about the risks/benefits - but I am extremely uncomfortable giving her a vaccine that has had only limited testing in her age group.

Children are not really just small adults and pre-teens are not small teenagers. Their bodies respond differently at different ages.

Chris said...

I dont trust this vaccine at all.

In Texas the governnemt is making it mandatory that young women take this vaccine. Also the governor from Texas has a contract with Merck to pass the vaccine. Seems a little fishy doens't it. Seriously, Check it out.

The ads for this vaccine are incredible. They try and make it seem like nothing will happen to you as long as you take the shot. As some one commented earlier, the vaccine only work some of the time(70%) on only 4 out of the hundreds of known strands. Does this seem like adequate protection to you?

Also the fact that these ads do not promote safe sex or abstinence as a viable alternative. Even if you take this drug you can still attract all the other terrible and harmful viruses and infections. The vaccine seems to be presented as a free ticket from infection. The fact of the matter is you can't have full protection from a vaccine.

People need to learn to either use a freakin condom or don't have sex. How hard is that, really? People just dont want to take care of themselves and take the responsibility for their actions.

If you look into most vaccines they are just a big joke. Do you remember the MMR shots we were mandated to take when we were growing up? Do any of you know anything about the diseases related to these shots? Measles, Mumps and Rubella are illness's that are not fatal and considered childhood diseases. Some research that I have found show that Getting sick from some of these viruses actually helps the immune system more than receiving the antibodies.

Maybe there is something to actually getting a little sick and then allowing your body to build up its own resistance.

Also, another thing most people don't know that Often times vaccines contain Mercury to help preserve the vaccine.

Already there are reports coming in of girls having siezures and immune system attacks after taking this vaccine.

I hope that parents and women look into this issue more and realize what is going on. Personally I think it is the first attempts at trying to sterilize our population. You can call me crazy all you like. I think its a bit crazy too. We will just have to wait and see.

This isn't the first time the drug companies have tried "pushing" their products. In reality that is all they are drug pushers. Look at how many people take antidepressants and ADD medication. Do you really think all these people need it?

Coming from personal experience I was prescribed both types at the end of highschool. I remember a meeting with a doctor a few years back. We had a short conversation in his office for about 15 minutes. After the discussion he said that I needed medication and then he proceeded to give me box after box after box of free samples from the drug manufacturer. I think he gave me some 5 or 6 boxes of samples to take home and try out. He said it was easier this way because I wouldn't need to get a prescription and I could try it out. This seems a little reckless to me looking back at it. At the time it just seemed like i needed help.

Protect the Women!!!

Watch out for Big Pharma!!!


Anonymous said...

I stay in Hong Kong and recently I went to see the doctor about the flu. After prescribing with medicine to combat the flu he started asking me whether or not I had heard of this new wonder drug that would prevent cervical cancer. So I said "No" and he proceeded to tell me how tests have shown in America that it reduces cervical caner, that lots of American teenagers as young as nine are getting this vaccine. He told me the cost (which is mighty expensive!) and asked whether I would like to get this wonderful vaccine. I said I would have to think about it. I am desperately worried about these new drugs as there is no certainty about their long term side effects. I mean, sure I want to believe that it prevents cervical cancers, if there was a 100% proof then I think I would pay double to get it. Also because its relatively new, I'm very apprehensive about it. Thanks for this article, its been very informative. I had my doubts before but the more I looked into it the more I learned the negative as well as the positive. Keep up the articles!


Anonymous said...

I noticed that all the posters who said they would get the vaccine used emotional responses to back up their decisions.

After researching this vaccine, I would rather teach my daughters how to protect themselves from STD's than risk a 50% chance of birth defects in my grandchildren by injecting my daughters with Gardasil.

Anonymous said...

50% chance of birth defects? I don't think so. If that were true, they wouldn't be advising people to get this vaccine. Did it ever enter ANYBODY'S MIND that MAYBE by getting this vaccine, you ARE protecting yourself from an STV? That's what it's for, for Christ's sake! It's to PROTECT YOU from a Sexually Transmitted VIRUS that CAN cause cancer! While the man you are sexually active with may not have Chlamydia, he MAY VERY WELL BE CARRYING HPV! So, you should STILL use a condom if you haven't been vaccinated. There are no HPV tests for men yet, remember? While I don't agree that it should be MANDATORY for young girls to be vaccinated and I think it should be the choice of the young adult or parent, just remember that every little bit helps. So it may only last four years, who cares? They're talking about SO FAR, not IN GENERAL. No one has lived a full life yet after being vaccinated for us to know if it lasts a lifetime. This stuff JUST CAME OUT! I'll take being protected for four years anyday. 80% of women will have contracted HPV at least once by the age of 50. A parent is right not to get their daughter vaccinated right away. I'm waiting to see what happens too before I may decide to get it. You want to make sure people aren't growing third arms out of their asses or starting fires with their minds. I mean...you want to make sure it's safe first. And if it is, get it if you want. But don't judge other people if they decide to invest in the vaccine. I know it's expensive. It's more expensive here in Canada. Here, it's 500 dollars. Luckily my health insurance will re-imburse me 80%. That means I get at least 4 years' protection for 100 loonies...*sigh* How can you take such currency so seriously? ANYWAY! This kind of thing isn't even worth all this drama. Can't everyone just wait and see first before they start saying "*Gasp* OH, NO! NO! NO!"? All I'm saying is, don't be a moron and shun it completely. This stuff may very well have a chance here. Believe it or not, MEDICINE IS GOING TO PROGRESS OVER TIME! I know it's a lot to take in, but sit down, have a cup of tea, and you'll eventually get used to the idea. Give me a God damn break.


Wow. What an exciting use of CAPITALIZATION and exclamation points.

You've addressed a lot in this one comment, but I'm just going to respond to a few things: "So it may only last four years, who cares?"

I think the issue with the fact that the vaccine's duration is unknown is something you should care about. The reason being that they are recommending it for girls are young as 9 years old. If it only lasts four years, then by the time that girl is old enough to (possibly) be sexually active, she may no longer be protected. There is risk in everything, but why risk this at 9 years old unless you know it will actually be worth the risk?

Also, I don't think it's fair to call anyone a moron for deciding not to get vaccinated (or deciding not to vaccinate their daughter/s). One could just as easily call you a moron for getting injected with something that hasn't been fully tested. Of course we would never judge someone else's medical decisions like that, so we would never call you a moron for that. Please show these caring parents who don't want to treat their kids like guinea pigs the same respect.

Anonymous said...

All I am saying is that people have to stop freaking out so much. A parent should wait until their daughter is old enough to decide for themselves. And I even SAID to wait and see if its safe first. Meaning, dont get it before its been fully tested. I think making it mandatory in schools is a BAD idea. Especially since it hasn't been out very long yet.

Anonymous said...

i thnk it is pretty amazing that biotechonolgy today has come up with something that prevents cancer. i had cervical cancer when i was 17 years old. it was from hpv. i got it cut out, no problem, but i was scared and it hurt like hell. it was in a stage 3 and i had it for a long time. and i had never had a pap test till i was 17. it is sometimes hard to talk to your mom about getting one. and it cost thousands of dollars. i probaly would of taken the vaccine that only cost a coulple of hundred to prevent it. i am a mircobiology major and it seems to me that the benifits outweight the risks. people are always so negitive. i feel that people are denying this vaccine because parents dont like to accept that their kids are having sex. NEWSFLASH: THEY ARE and they will. and it was told that around 90% of sexually active people have or have had hpv.

John said...

Just as a point of order, the reason why the HPV vaccine isn't given to men is mechanical. The male genital organs are dry and the vaccine works in conjunction with vaginal secretions. HPV is curious because until it goes cancerous, it doesn't go below the dermis layer. As such, it isn't subject to immunoresponse. In women, this can be addressed by introducing it into the vaginal fluid which does come in contact with these cells.

Miss Knees said...

The cost of this vaccine is probably one of the worst reasons NOT to get it. I don't know about you, but I don't put a price on my health or the health of my sexual partners. Additionally, insurance will pay for a lot of these costs.

Yes, drug companies are for-profit entities, and want to make money off of their product. You may find it interesting to know, however, that it takes an average of $1 BILLION to bring a new drug to market. Then, the drug company has only 5 years to make that money back before the patent runs out and other companies can begin making generic versions. Just something to consider before blasting drug companies for the high prices of their product. If you want to take issue with insurance companies for not providing better coverage, great. But if we try to force prices down on the drugs themselves, we may find the production of new medicine slowing down as companies find they are taking a loss.

Kimberly Williams said...

My name is Kimberly. I'm eighteen years old and I got HPV from a ******* at a party. He didnt tell me he had it but it was my fault b.c. I didnt say no. Anyway. I've had all three gardasil shots and my doctor told me I cannot transmit is anymore. My friend Christina, dated the same boy later and has HPV now too. Her doctor told her you CAN spread it. Can you help me?!?!?

Anonymous said...

I am a nurse working in a large pediatricians office. The drug reps for Merck wine and dine our office like you wouldn't believe. We have been taken out to dinner at nice restaurants and they bring in lunches or bagels for breakfast at least 2-3 times each month. Our drs push Gardasil on anyone with a daughter. It is unbelievable. I have 5 daughters ages 13-5 and I won't let any one of them get it for precisely the reasons you have mentioned in your blog. You make great points. All I can say is that people should not just blindly follow what any dr says or suggests. Especially with vaccines.

Anonymous said...

I found it disturbing that your blog has nothing but negative things to say about "gardasil". People are afraid that vaccinations will encourage promiscuity in teenage girls, c'mon now....thats like having your daughter tell you she's having sex and you refuse to let her buy condoms. Why would you not want to protect your daughter from a deadly disease ,that may cause her in the future the inability to have children of her own. Quote directly from lazy geishas blog .

"No woman should have to suffer the scourge of cervical cancer ever again, especially since we now have a way to prevent the infections responsible for 70% of all cervical cancer cases worldwide, and I would challenge any opponent to such measures to provide a compelling argument as to why this shouldn’t be done on a national scale. We owe it to every woman to try and spread the word about Gardasil and to vaccinate every girl that we’re able.It is simply outrageous that such religious conservatives are trying to block efforts to protect the next generation of women from a deadly disease such as cervical cancer. It strikes at the very heart of our femininity, and it’s dangerously irresponsible to confuse good medical judgment with a warped view of human sexuality."


Um... did you actually read our blog?

I'd read it again because you seemed to have missed the point (which was not anything to do with teenage promiscuity).

We have more than just negative things to say - we aren't encouraging people to avoid Gardasil. These are 10 things (and 10 more if you check out our follow up) that people might not know about Gardasil, but should. Maybe it would seem less negative if there weren't so many (potentially) negative aspects of this vaccine.

Anonymous said...

After reading all of these comments i am sure the human race is doomed. Line up girls of the entire planet to stop having babies in one shot. The rockefellers dream come true.
Read the 2584 adverse reactions so far (those reported)
If you have no clue about the ongoing eugenics program in this world and it's current revival, you should read and learn. If you dont want to know, then stick your head in the sand and perish.
Research eugenics and the georgia guidestones if you want to make some sense out of this. And watch "children of men", they are warning you..WAKE UP!

Anonymous said...

The links in my previous post got screwed up, lets try that again:
Heres the database, http://www.medalerts.org/vaersdb/
check off HPV4 and click find...it appears the server is down or overloaded right now...or the govt is in the process of taking it down

Anonymous said...

On the record, I run a company that sells raw materials to companies like Merck so they can make their drugs. I think the conversation about this drug and whether it is a smart choice is excellent.

However, I do not understand why Merck's motives are at issue since the FDA approved the drug and Merck is doing what any company would do in its position. Merck is trying to sell as much of its product as possible.

A number of the comments made in reaction to the initial 10 points cited seem to me to be more political than analytical. Some of you seem to want to focus on "big bad evil corporate America" rather than the reasons for girls/women getting or not getting the vaccination. That sort of illogic could lead to one forsaking drugs entirely. After all, most of the effective products we use all the time are made by "big bad evil corporate America."

My daughter is 14 and I am a father deciding whether she should be vaccinated. My daughter's safety and health are paramount and how much Merck makes on this drug is not the major issue for me. The 10 points listed and other factors will determine my decision.

I hope, if a poor person wishes to be vaccinated, that we can make the drug affordable or free to that individual. In the end, I hope the drug works are described and Merck can make all the money it then deserves.


I agree with you... the fact that Merck stands to make money from Gardasil (and subsequently markets it) is not a reason to avoid the vaccine in and of itself. But we thought it was important for people to remember that Merck didn't create Gardasil out of the goodness of their hearts and they don't necessarily have our best interests as their top priority. This is an industry. We just want women to remember that those ads from Merck are in fact ads to sell a product and not a "public service announcement" to save our all lives.

Anonymous said...

i agree that you should make an informed decision on this matter that is only common sense.

i agree drug companies AND DOCTORS are not out for your best interestes first and foremost, they are out to make money, you can say DR are benevolent but unless they are working for free they have to pay the bills too, so they will think about that first, just like drug companies, so the cynicalness against drug companeis and dr, is par for the course, i wouldn't say they are any worse than they ever have been.

but as far as not vaccinating, i think its stupid, if the testing says it works, then you take the chance,.. ok you say, let's not do it, let's wait till it is more proven.. fine.. if your kid ends up with hpv warts or worse, you will be kicking yourself afterwards for not trying to do all you can.

sure you say condoms use them, but its a skin on skin and on guys the hpv is usually not on the part covered by the condom but hte pubic area. trust me you don't want warts, they may not be deadly but they wear on you emotionally, mentally and are a bother.

and to the person taht said they "had hpv warts taht cleared up and they are cured" they are not cured.. you are never "cured" you can get rid of the warts but the virus is still there, it will always be there.. this goes for women, you may have an abnormal pap once get teh warts removed and have clear paps for the next 20 years, but you will always carry that virus and if you don't use protection expose others to this that you have intimate contact with.. you are never cured.

that is why prevention is the only way to go.

good luck.

free ps3 said...

Thanks for the nice post!

Anonymous said...

I think in this case the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. My sister has HPV and developed cervical cancer. Fortunately, she is extremely responsible about annual pap smears so they were able to detect and remove the cancerous cells early on. Unfortunately, her ability to carry a baby full term has now been compromised. For that reason alone, I will be vaccinated.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that you girls don’t want this shot. As someone that actually has HPV and just went through a very painful surgery (LEEP) to get rid of precancerouse cells on my cervix, that came about because of HPV, I highly recommend that everyone get this shot even if there is a slight chance that it may work. I had the LEEP procedure a few weeks ago and I feel better now, but because of the surgery I now have to worry if I ever get pregnant. When I do, I will have a high-risk pregnancy, because my cervix may not be able to hold it. I would not want ANY girl/woman to go through what I have gone through in the last three years. I contracted HPV over four years ago, I had no idea what it was and never heard of anyone else contracting it. I understand that Gardasil only helps a small percentage of HPV, but did you also know that the percentage it helps are the ones that cause cervical cancer? The other strains of HPV only show as genital warts, and do not cause cervical cancer. I have never had warts and have never felt sick, a pap only showed that I had the last step before cancer. I wish I knew then about a vaccine to prevent this. I hope this helps, anyone.

Anonymous said...

I think ALL of you should know, that they can never make a vaccine "Mandatory". They can try and make you believe they can, but you always can say NO! For religious reasons, personal reasons or whatever. It is your RIGHT not to have vaccines if you do not want them. I came from a family of 5 children, my parents did not believe in them and we never got them, and we are healthier than alot of other people our age. My cousin just informed me tonight that her daughter has just started having seizures. Hummmm, what a coincidence, she just had the HPV vaccine last month. Aluminum? A Neurotoxin? Affects the brain? I have to be very suspicious that this vaccine could have caused her to have these seizures. I lost a dog from seizures after she had a rabies shot. I am in the medical field and when my dog started having seizures I went into work and looked up the rabies vaccine and sure enough in the "side effects" it listed "could cause seizures". So you can best believe tomorrow when I get to work, I am looking up Gardasil!

Anonymous said...

one less ...one less mouth to feed, one less useless eater...one less sick to care for...one less of the poor, one less ethnic. Visit popconnect dot org (formerly Zero Population Growth) to learn more about what this is about.

Anonymous said...

Of course it most likely caused your friends seizure. It contains sodium borate (roach killer) Sodium borates can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, weakness, tremors, seizures, higher doses cause coma and death. Sodium borate affects the kidneys. The aforementioned falls right in line with 90% of the over 3000 adverse reactions documented on VAERS. It also contains polysorbate 80 for for fertility control. Whatever doesnt shorten your lifespan will prevent you from having kids. Achieving its goal either way. You people are nuts if you inject that in your kids, you are bad mothers if you dont find this out for yourself, all the info is out there, just search.

Anonymous said...

Adverse effects database 314 pages long 3137 events. If you read all of these pages i am sure you will be horrified enough to make up your minds on this stuff. Actually it should take you less than 20 pages to make up your minds.

Read for your childs sake please.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Evil for allowing free spech to be posted on this blog. I can tell you personally i have posted negative comments on many of the news stories out there including ABC and they have been magically omitted from the list of comments. The tentacles of big pharma and big bro are reaching so far on this story they have shut up everyone. This is one of the biggest coverups in canadian history. If you search google news it is almost impossible to find any stories telling the truth, they have been meticulously filtered. Sad, girls are going to suffer, the scary part is even though kids will be dying or paralysed NO ONE will hear about it!

Anonymous said...

until you have known someone that has died from this you might not think too much about it but if it only helped prevent 1 type of HPV that casues cervical cancer I would still think its worth it! True your body does sometimes heal itself but there are many different strands of this virus and I wouldnt want to have the ONE strand that gives you the greater risk of cervical cancer. Working in a Gyn office and have worked with a gyn oncologist, I see what this can do. If woman choose not to get the vaccing KEEP getting your yearly paps because early detection is the key here!

BlueBerry Pick'n said...

why is the only concern in the MSM about who *promotes* sticking their dicks in our daughters...

BUT nobody's really that concerned about screwing over an ENTIRE GENERATION of women with some really hastily researched vaccine?

I mean, if you look @ the US flu shot? the preservative for the last decade has INCLUDED MERCURY.

think about that.

ummmm mercury.

I love your article & research.

BigPharma investigative research... that's some scary shit. what was it one of my favourite authors said about fiction being less scary than what he found in his research on BigPharma research ethics?...

Spread Love...
... but wear the Glove!

BlueBerry Pick'n
can be found @
"We, two, form a Multitude" ~ Ovid.
"Silent Freedom is Freedom Silenced"

Anonymous said...

The news is all lies and the "fiction" movies are showing you the truth, IN YOUR FACE! That is the scary world we live in. Gardasil is an evil scam thought up by demented old men like David Rockefeller. Watch "Children Of Men" that is showing you our future, the people in holloywood know what is happening and they are showing you hoping you will wake up!
We live in a world of lies and deceit and yes Big Pharma is a key player.

Anonymous said...

i tried to post this link before but it keeps getting truncated so i will post it in several lines, you can copy and paste it together.

Anonymous said...

i think that everyone has the right to make a decision, it should not be forced upon them. but i think with this vaccine or any drug for that matter there are side effects that come with it. watch any commerical that is about a "break through" drug listen to the end and the long list of side effects that can come with it. no drug that any human has made is perfect, from ibrophen to this vaccine. i guess what i am trying to say is you need to ask yourself with any long term drug you take: what am i willing to live with this or the side effects, minor or potentionally major?

Anonymous said...

here's that link that "anonymous" was trying to post before. It's a link to the National Vaccine Information Center. (We've included a link to another page of this website in our follow up "Ten More Things").

Anonymous said...

Trust me im a guy i got genital warts get the shot. u dont want hpv. also protect your self... people are saying this shot is bad no research is correct about this shot . so you all should stop pointing fingers im glad there might be a cure soon

Anonymous said...

I want to know why anyone would trust a website known as "Evil Slutopia" for their women's health issues- seems a bit backwards to me. Or maybe being an evil slut you have had so many "women's health issues" you very well could be an expert. Who knows, but I think I will trust more reputable sources and their input.

And FYI I have had all three doses and I feel great and am very happy I did so. No complaints.


Well, we're not asking you or anybody to blindly "trust" our opinions. That's why both of our pieces on Gardasil contain many many many links to 'reputable sources', and we try to indicate whenever we use a source that might have a particular agenda. We think we're also pretty clear about the fact that we encourage everyone to do research on their own and decide what is right for them. We're glad that you had a good experience and that you're happy with the choice that you made.

And sure, some members of the clique have had "women's health issues", however you define that. Just about every woman has probably had something that qualified as a women's health issue at some point in her life, because health issues don't have a whole lot to do with how much of a "slut" you are. But you're right about the 'expert' thing--we do try our best to be as informed as possible so that we can be experts on our own health, and we think every woman should do the same.

mom said...

Thanks for doing the research. Our daughters cannot be the guinea pigs for Merck. I don't like new vacines, never did. I like to give them 5 - 10 years to see what turns up. I did not have my daughter vacinated, against my docs recommendation. The same doc, however, who strongly recommended Hormone Replacement Therapy 5 years ago. Didn't take that either.

We all have to question authority more, just like in the old days.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's intense. And also extrememly frustrating and enraging! I can't understand why you wouldn't want to take advantage of this, when it's being offered for free!! And I don't understand why there is so much paranoia and hysteria surrounding this vaccine - it's revolutionary technology which doesn't even contain virus particles - which, in that respect, even if you choose to believe it's so bad - is a huge improvement on past vaccines.

I completely understand why it is important to be immunizing young girls. HPV is sexually transmitted. I know girls as young as 12 who've had sex, who are therefore at risk of contracting HPV.

And the question about why males don't get the vaccine? I attended a lecture from Ian Frazer and one of my friends asked him the same question. And his answer? One of the most serious problems associated with HPV is CERVICAL cancer. do males have a cervix? If basic anatomy can't tell you that, then why are you trying to tell people not to recieve a vaccine which could potentially save their lives?

Jezebel said...

You're right, men don't have cervixes. But they can still get HPV and give HPV to their female partners. Men are also at risk for genital warts and certain cancers that are related to HPV, although the risk is lower than a woman's cervical cancer risk. Men generally are not even tested for HPV, partly because of attitudes like yours that 'it doesn't affect them so who cares?'

Basically, by pretending that HPV is just a women's health issue that men shouldn't worry about, we're ensuring that both women and men will continue to be uninformed and at risk.

I think you've drawn some wrong conclusions from what we've posted. (The vaccine being "offered for free" is just one of them--there may be some programs in some places offering this, but that doesn't mean that anybody can walk into any doctor's office and get a completely free vaccine). But our main point is really that you should do what you feel is best for you, but have as much information as possible before you make the decision. What you see as "paranoia and hysteria", we just see as critical thinking and dialogue and informed decision-making.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is a college freshman. While she is not yet sexually active, I encouraged her to have her first OB/GYN appointment to begin routine exams and learn of birth control options available to her. She had this appointment in her home state and at the same time, received her 1st Gardasil injection. About two weeks later, she moved 2,000 miles away to college. After arrival, she received the Menactra vaccine at the student health center to prevent meningococcal disease which is easily transmitted in student housing. At the time of the innoculation, she was not asked if she had received any prior vaccines.

My daughter was too busy at school to follow up on the 2nd installment of the Gardasil series at the 60 day interval. On a recent visit, she asked me to call and set up an appointment. I called the doctor she was assigned to at college through her HMO. That office said that it was okay to have the 3 shots at anytime...as long as they were within six months of the start of the series.

I didn't have confidence in this answer, so I called her OB/GYN in her home state. They checked with the Merck representative who indicated the 2nd installment needs to be given no later than 90 days to prevent the series from being started again. She was only a few days from the 90 day interval.

I then decided to do some research on my own to determine if I could validate either physician's office response. This website, Merck's, and others listed in this blog were very helpful in obtaining information to make a decision. I also utilized Drugs.com which indicated that it is recommended that no other vaccinations be given during the the Gardasil series. Now the student health center where my daughter received the Menactra shot is a major research university with a medical school. I would have thought the physicians in this setting would have been well versed on new drugs, especially those targeted at student populations.

My learning from all of this exploration is that I need to take more responsibility in the future and do my homework before requesting any service from a physician. As this situation shows, the doctors involved did not have full knowledge nor were in agreement on the vaccination schedule. As a result, I have advised my daughter that she may wish to wait to receive Gardasil. She may consider starting the series at a later time when additional information on the product is available and physicians are knowledgeable about it.

Thanks to all who contributed to this page! It's helpful to read both the pros and cons as well as the links provided.

Robin said...

I am totally distraught. I (like a good mother) had my daughter get this series to prevent HPV. She was always normal ok her papa. Now - sometime after dose 2 and before dose 3 she has all of a sudden gotten HPV (she did not tell me till now - after her 6 month recheck pap to see if it was still showing HPV - and it did so she filled me in) we do not know which strand of HPV yet as the coloscopy is in 2 weeks- on pins and needles here- I feel like I hurt my baby. I find it too odd that she NOW (after ten years of neg paps) has HPV - no partner change - only change is vaccine. Merck hung up on her when she called for info - nice way to treat her - right?!

Anonymous said...

I refer to your comment dated February 5, 2007 9:47:00 AM EST

In fact Gardasil is a quadrivalent human Papilomavirus vaccine. Quadrivalent means 4 strains 16 and 18 for CCa and strains 6 and 11 which are 99% effective at preventing 90% of genital warts.

Yes there are 40 strains of HPV relevant to anogenital region but these 4 are the most prevalent across the globe responsible for the vast majority of burden of disease.

almost 600,000 women died from cervical cancer last year and Merck has subsidised the vaccine to provide access to developing nations, perhaps the evil pharmaceutical giant has some consience after all?

Molecular Biologist (Australia)

Anonymous said...

Your comments about this subject are troubling. Your assumptions, data and bias are muddying a very important issue. Why are we as a society so cautionary when it comes to breakthroughs for preventative measures? Why do we never question advances for options to treat? Unless you have had warts or CIN 1 or cervical cancer it is unfair to assume one can fully comprehend the burden associated.
I am hopeful that individuals who take to this site for guidance have the intelligence to seek out an expert when rendering a decision on this issue as this blog is riddled with inaccuracies. The arduous part of this is...if you do vaccinate you will never know if you made the right decision. However, as a parent of 2 daughters I never want to uncover that I made the wrong decision.

Anonymous said...

But you might know if you did make the wrong decision to vaccinate. This terrifies me: 8 More Deaths Connected to HPV Vaccine: Adverse reactions from Gardasil number in thousands. I don't know how accurate that website is, but even one death is too much. It's too risky in my opinion, but please... don't make your own decisions and weigh the risks for yourselves.

Anonymous said...


get your information from a credible source. the deaths and adverse events data that you quote are from where? The global database on this vaccine (gardasil) is exceptional. There are no concerns. Several thousand adverse events attributed to reading Lilith's comments including paranoia, indigestion, and inflammation of the bull shit gene. Lilith, give us the stuff....where did you get this info? FDA? or someone reputable webiste.

Anonymous said...

I already gave the source for that information and already said that I don't know if it is a credible source or not. But here's another that cites the FDA.

Regardless, I think my bullshit gene is going to burst from reading "there are no concerns" about Gardasil.

We can all decide for ourselves if the benefits outweigh the risks, but to say there are no risks is seriously delusional. (And I can make that statement based on Gardasil's own website and a ton of other places already listed in the original blog entry).

Anonymous said...


On Gardasil's website please inform all if any of those side effects are attributable to the vaccine (aside from soreness at injection site).

Lilith, do you have children? if you do, please speak to your Doctor when you reach a decision. Do not rely on the info contained within this site.

If you do have daughters I am hopeful that if she gets Cervical cancer (and I hope she does not) that you don't have to tell her that you made the choice not to vaccinate. How would you feel? Vaccination has eradicated disease and all of us in the western world benefit from herd vaccination. Cervical cancer and genital warts are not fun. do the research and reach a decision. But don't ever be in a position where you made a decision based on the misinformation on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Okay "Anonymous"... now I'm starting to get annoyed.

I'm offended by:

1) your presumption that I haven't already spoken to a doctor regarding Gardasil
2) your presumption that I haven't already long ago "done the research"
3) your presumption that I wouldn't have already discussed this with a daughter along with the implication that I would or should make a decision like this for a daughter without her participation
4)the implication that I would make any major decision based on a blog entry
5) your ignorance of (or is just ignoring?) the fact that we're very clearly saying don’t not get it just because some chicks with a blog say that they aren’t going to. It’s your health, your decision. Do your own research and accept no guilt trips.
6) your presumption that I'm not already aware of the realities of HPV, genital warts, cervical lesions, cervical cancer (and your condescending "it's not fun"... no really?)
7) your apparent failure to realize that I am one of the members of this blog and therefore have already made my decision (based on research, some of which is provided in this blog, some of which is elsewhere, some of which is from - yes - a doctor) and am simply here, discussing it.
8) your closed-minded and obnoxious approach to mainstream medicine... you seem to perhaps have the opinion that it can "do no wrong".

Gardasil may very well save your life. Or maybe it'll kill you. Make your own decisions. But don't you dare criticize mine/ours.

Anonymous said...

You are in fact providing information that is miselading people.."gardasil may in fact save your life but it might also kill you". So now the FDA keeps meds and vaccines on the market that kill people. Seems somewhat counter intuitive to me. Don't be angry, simply relax. I respect your decision for inaction. Your call. Your family. I am only troubled that you may be influencing others who may in fact travel along the same misinformed path. Blame it on my idealist's faith but I am sure that your original intent with this 'blog' was filled with good intentions. Unfortnately your bias has poisoned the intent.
Sleep well.
Anonymous out.

Anonymous said...

The website I gave in my previous comment discussed 3 Gardasil-related deaths (attributed to the FDA).

I didn't say "it might also kill you", that makes no sense. But yes, I said Or maybe it'll kill you. How is that misinformation? It's not stated as fact... it's a possibility. There is the possibility that it could kill you. Even if that's a very very very slim possibility (which it likely is)... anything is possible in medicine. I'm not suggesting that Gardasil is a lethal drug, just that it has been under-tested. Also, people have had some very severe reactions due to unknown allergies, etc. You can't say it's ludicrous to be concerned instead of jumping to get it without thorough information.

The original intent is still here. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS. That is our only intent. My personal decision is to stay away from Gardasil. I don't ask anyone else to do the same. Yes, cervical cancer is a serious issue... but it isn't something that in my opinion requires "herd vaccination". And my personal decision (for my own body and my own children) is not to get it. Period.

You are just as biased as I am. Your blind faith of our medical system (in which so many "lifesavers" have caused more problems than solutions and yes, even at times killed) terrifies me.

That and your repeated use of "anonymous" makes me suspicious of your motives. Working for Merck? ;-)

Anonymous said...

suspicious you are...shame on you. Perhaps I was just infleunced by all those muffins and bagels that the drug companies give out (joke). Why would someone else's opinion (that differs from yours) translate into something such as your insinuation. Do all those that disgagree with you have factors influencing their opinions? As you say, your opinions are based on thorough research and investigation as are mine. Your paranoid slant suggests that my views are planted with a different seed. There within lies the fundamental shortcoming of your blog.....

Anonymous said...

We have many opinions commented here. We respect them all.

It is your inability to understand/respect my opinion that bothers me (as well as your condescension). I don't think you're wrong for thinking Gardasil is good. I just think you're being somewhat of an ass for suggesting that anyone who feels otherwise is "paranoid" and "misinformed" and risking the lives of their daughters. I'm glad you're comfortable having faith in Merck and mainstream medicine as a whole. But don't dare treat me like I'm a crazy conspiracy theorist for feeling that Gardasil might not be all that you claim. What scares me about your "opinion" is that it seemingly makes it impossible for you to understand why someone else doesn't share it. I completely get your stance. Why can't you get mine without accusing me of being full of shit?

As for my 'paranoid slant'. Please do not confuse my opinion with that of the ESC as a whole or with the blog entry itself. There is a reason I am commenting as Lilith and not as "Evil Slut Clique". These comments come from me, personally.

There is nothing paranoid about the blog. There isn't even really a slant. No where in the blog do we say that we think anyone shouldn't get the vaccine. We're just giving you food for thought...

However, my decision is to skip it.

We welcome all opinions here and therefore do not censor any comments. However we don't appreciate being talked down to or rudeness. Please don't continue to be closed minded. There are people here who opposed all vaccinations. You can disagree, but do not judge.

Anonymous said...

Im 24 and I just came down with a nasty case of hpv that is giving me precancerous lesions on my cervix. Everytime I get them removed they just come back again. If I had received this vaccine then maybe I wouldnt be going through this hell. I just think that there needs to be more testing on this vaccine...what if it had a catastrophic long term side effect on an entire generation..like infertility? Also, considering that the effectiveness is shown to last only a few years, isnt it more reasonable to administer it upon entry to highschool when most kids are becoming sexually active? I dont remember any kids banging at 9 but maybe it's a generational thing...

Anonymous said...

I've already had bad reactions to vaccines. Now I know better. I'll never get this vaccine.
Good blogging, girls :)

Anonymous said...

Just reviewed your top 10...you really are questioning why they push for girls of 9? My guess is that getting the girls before they start having sex would be wise. Also, they are studying in men...is is common knowledge. Get the facts before you publish some of this stuff.Drug companies have their short comings, without question. Your info on here is way more misleading than some of the stuff the Mercks and Pfizers come up with. Crap!!

Anonymous said...

We're questioning why they were pushing for mandatory vaccination of girls that young, when there hadn't been
a) enough testing on girls in that age range
b) clear data on the duration of the vaccine's immunity past 4 years (meaning at 13 when maybe they actually are having sex they might not be protected - but will think they are).

Also, if you check the dates on this original blog entry - almost a year ago - (and our resources cited) there had been very little to no testing on men/boys and the vaccine was not approved (or even originally intended) for men. Now almost a year later, there has been more research and other vaccines in the works.

We've listed sources to every "fact" we propose and mention the differing opinions on said "facts". (I put fact in quotes since it's not necessarily fact, just theory, as is a lot of medical science). Anyone who can read accurately can see that this blog is dated January 2007 so obviously while nothing was false, it might be somewhat outdated... which is why we posted a follow up entry in May. We are still following the press coverage and new developments and doing our own research, so we may be back with more later on.

It's hard to believe almost a year later this post is still getting so much action and response. We're glad that people out there aren't just taking Merck's word for their health and are looking for information on their own.

Again, we encourage everyone to do their own research. (And we don't consider this blog to be "research". It is just a jumping off point for you to ask and answer your own questions about Gardasil and other HPV "breakthroughs"). If you find this or any other info misleading, we remind you to check the dates of all your research and keep that in mind when making your decisions.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned in the article that the vaccine does not cover boys or men. Thats because the clinical trials are currently underway and it has not yet been approved for use in men by the FDA.

And as for the people who are saying that 4 out of 100 is not enough, the types it does include make up about 70% of all those that cause cervical cancer as well as 90% of the types that cause genital warts. Many of the 100 types are harmless and not associtated with the problems such as precancerous lesions, gential warts or cancer.

And the reason that the vaccine needs to be given at the young age is because it is only affective BEFORE exposure. As a nurse who works OB/GYN I have seen these diseases affect many woman first hand.

If the medical community developed a vaccine for lung cancer would the same people oppose it, claiming it would encourage smoking? It is just something to think about.

Sexual health is always a tricky subject when it comes to our children, especially the younger they are. But in the end (well most) they will eventually become sexual active with or without this vaccine. So why not do everything we can to at least learn all the facts and protect our children.

As a mother of a 6 year old I will be getting her vaccinated when she is age apportiate. I feel that to not possibly prevent my daughter from getting cancer is irresponsible of me. Do I want her to wait to have sex? Of course, but I will still teach her the importance of safe sex. Pretending it doesn't happen will not protect the lives of our daughters.


If you read carefully, you'll notice that we do not agree with the religious and/or "moral" opposition to this vaccine. We have never suggested that it would encourage sex, nor do we deny or "pretend" that children and teens are having sex.

We just don't necessarily believe that at this point in time, the vaccine is 100% ready and safe and worth the risks. We want people to protect their children as they see fit and we shall do the same. Perhaps some people will use this vaccine to protect their children from HPV and others will avoid this vaccine to protect their children from side effects.

And obviously we do not approve of making the vaccine state-mandated for little girls.

Anonymous said...

The term 'mandatory' is misleading. A statewide program is obviously the best way to eradicate any disease be it polio or HPV. For example Lilith says"we are questioning why they are pushing for mandatory vaccination when they are that young". No drug Company can make a drug or vaccine mandatory. Just because a state initiates a public program does not mean as a parent that I have to participate. Your words infer things that are misleading. The nicety about any vaccine (arguably the greatest medical advance of the 20th century) is that there are few side effects. Yet again you suggest that others should avoid due to side effects. You must have big shoulders and an iron clad conscience to put forward such a suggestion.

Jezebel said...

I think you're misinterpreting or misrepresenting what we've said here.

You say "No drug Company can make a drug or vaccine mandatory". That's true, and we never said that they could. What we said was that Merck was initially engaged in efforts to lobby for mandatory vaccinations with state governments, which they then discontinued. You also say that parents do not necessarily have to participate in 'mandatory' state programs, which is true in most states. But every state is different and has different requirements for what a parent would have to do in order to be granted an exemption.

We're not trying to argue that all vaccines are bad and have tons of harmful side effects. Obviously there are many vaccines that have been used for many years on many people with minimal negative effects. However, a quick trip to the VAERS database (or a quick search of coverage on the ongoing controversy about vaccines that contain mercury) will tell you that there are many many many reports about vaccines causing negative effects in some people. There are also cases where medicines other than vaccines (including some developed by Merck) have proven to be potentially harmful after being on the market for awhile.

Gardasil is a new vaccine that has only been through trials of ten years or less, so we don't know for sure what the future will hold and how successful it will be at helping to eradicate HPV while also not negatively affecting the health of women and girls in a significant way. All we're really advocating is that people do their own research, ask their own questions, use caution, and make their own decisions.

Anonymous said...

I am a mother of a 12 year old girl and I decided to go get her the gardisil vaccine and I also ask her family care physician if she could get the spinal menigitis vaccine. He agreed and gave her both shots. We left the office and were driving home he became really sick. She passed out and was very weak. She said that she could not see and everything was white. I called the physician and he said it was anxiety from getting the shots. Her symptoms went on for about 30 min. It has been two months and she is supose to get her second shot but I am very scared of what might happen this time. After reading your blog she was not supose to recieve any other vaccines while recieving the gardisil. As a mother I don't think that there has been enough research done to get any futher vaccines for my daughter. I also think that as a mother we should teach our kids that hpv is just as dangerous as any other std and should always protect themselves when having sex.

Anonymous said...

A little off topic but another thing to think about would be outside Gardasil itself. There are other types of cancer that are caused by viruses (like how some strains of HPV can cause cervical cancer). There is the possibility in the relatively near future that vaccines to these viruses could also be developed if in fact over time Gardasil does prove do be a decent vaccination (with plenty of long term testing). Putting the drug itself aside and the money merek will make, think about what a breakthrough this is and where it could lead. Many people have been dreaming of ways to PREVENT cancer and we all have taken steps to protect ourselves from carcinogens. I am not promoting Gardasil or attacking it. All I am saying is at least if you decide that Gardasil is not for you, respect the scientific breakthrough that has occurred and the possibilities for the future. Keep researching breakthrough products like Gardasil to promote the scientific community and use your right to decide whether Gardasil is right for you or for your daughter. All I ask is that you don't blow off Gardasil and the pharmaceutical/medical community completely because whatever the future holds for Gardasil, the development has been a breakthrough in itself.

Kate said...

A year later and this post is still doing what you meant it to do – getting people to think about this vaccine. Congratulations. Many people have read your post, commented, and completed further research. I am delighted to know people are thinking critically about this topic – no matter what their final decision turns out to be.

I am also relieved that it is not only we “religious conservatives” who are against the vaccine. I first had reservations about the vaccine because of talk of making it mandatory for girls, especially because if you don’t have sex before marriage, and your spouse doesn’t either, you won’t get genital HPV. I realize that this still does not eliminate your risk of cervical cancer altogether, but it sure reduces your risk – without an expensive vaccine which has little long-term research. Anyway, after reading your blog and other sites about Gardasil, I have many more reasons for not being vaccinated.

There are countless reasons to not blindly get this vaccine, even on your MD’s recommendation – many which I have learned since reading your blog and comments and completing further research. Thank you for this post and your follow-up comments.

concerned said...

I am against this vaccine and maybe being older I remember other breakthru's for woman how about the anti nausea drug of the'50's and thus the thalidamide babies , the DES causing uterine deformities of the daughters born to these woman the dalkon shield causing uterine perforation and thus sterility. then there is the recent removal of standard hormonal treatment for menopausal woman . 7 close friends on hormone treatment all developed breast cancer . Yes I am glad there are certain drugs on the market but I am only going to take them when needed and I am certainly not going to let my daughter fall into the 1% who might have an adverse reaction. Have you all forgotten that merck is also the group who withdrew their medecine for arthritis after those who took it 1/12 either died or doubled their risks of heart attacks . I feel we have to be very cautious injecting a whole new generation of child bearing woman Worldwide with this vaccination .

KittenFuzz said...


The FDA themselves seem to have mixed feelings on the subject, the assumed correlation between HPV and cervical cancer seems to have been 'massaged' a little and the shots actually can increase your risk of developing CC if you're already infected. They acknowledge that the body will usually clear the virus by itself, and only long term persistant infections that do not clear by themselves (a very small number of cases of even 'high risk' HPV strains in people with weakend immune systems) are a direct causative factor for CC.

For some reason FDA and Merck didn't share that info with us in their commericals.

Anonymous said...

kitten ... you need to re-read the FDA article; the increased risk of pre-cancerous cells is only applicable IF YOU WERE ALREADY INFECTED WITH ONE OF THE HPV TYPES THAT MAY CAUSE CANCER - for gardasil, this means types 16 & 18. Gardasil.com says that the vaccine does not treat HPV, or it would not be called a vaccine: ie, if you have had 20 infections from HPV, you shouldn't run out and get gardasil if you haven't been tested for which HPV type you have.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for gathering this information! Today I am taking my 13 year old daughter for a "well visit" and I have a feeling the doctor will bring up getting her vaccinated. I probably wasn't going to get her the shots (to new), but then I thought I should research it in case it was a new "wonder" drug. Your article really helped me to make the decision of NO WAY!

Anonymous said...

I took my 14 year old daughter for her well visit in October. At that visit she received the Gardalis and Menongitis vaccines in the same arm (they advise against same-spot injections). My daughter suffered from fainting and convulsions two times in the Dr's office. She is now suffering from arthritis in her knees as a result from the vaccines. I am horrified that she may have lasting life-long side effects from vaccines that I agreed to give her because her Dr advised us to. Please, please, please be aware before giving your children these vaccines!

Anonymous said...

I think that everyone should send an email to Merck in regards to the fact that they don't disclose all the information on their ad. My sister had her daughters get the jab, and there is NO WAY I am doing that! I prefer to teach my girls about abstinence and all the horrors that come along with not being that way, instead of filling their heads with 'cures'...yes, it's old fashioned, but isnt it about time we retrain our girls (this was not to offend those of you that have chosen otherwise) but kids of 9, 10, 11, 12, 13... have NO CLUE the emotional scars it can leave!

Muna wa Wanjiru said...

If you're one of those squeamish people it would be best if you remained ignorant of what genital warts look like. You might want to read the information gathered on thia site, but if the thought of anything to do with your bodily functions leaves you nauseous, you should avoid these completely.

Ignorance really is best in this case and if you believe you might be suffering from genital warts and want to know what genital warts look like you might be better off gathering the courage to go see your doctor instead, to confirm or deny that you have genital warts.

Sometimes the direct approach is the best, and this way you will also be assured of getting the necessary treatment. And if you really want to see what genital warts look like, you can always go back to any of these sites.

Muna wa Wanjiru is a web administrator and has been researching and reporting on Genital Warts for years. For more information on genital warts look like, visit his site at GENITAL WARTS LOOK LIKE

Spectator said...

There are always people who cannot handle certain things. If you take a sample from a population, there will always be a bell curve of those who did well, and those who did not. When vaccines are issued to the general public, there is a ridiculous amount of testing it must undergo.

The one issue your article failed to include was what Gaurdasil will actually prevent. If there's a chance I can protect myself against %70 of the most common strains of a cancer, I think I can handle the possible, though not probable risks.

The most important thing is to know your family's history and your own genetics. If you can handle drugs/vaccines/what have you well, it's probably not a bad idea. Gaurdasil is not the bad guy. Cervical cancer is.

Anonymous said...

A couple notes. To those that believe cervical cancer is not terminal you are foolish. My best friend a mother of a 2 young boys 2 and 6 years of age is dying of cervical cancer. She is HPV positive and had normal paps up until this last year and things were too far gone. Remember she has a 2 year old she was in the care of a gynecologist. She currently is in hospice care with few remaining days. I am all for researching a drug and if you feel it is unsafe than I believe you should have the option to not vaccinate. However if you don't want to vaccinate because it is morally wrong let me pose a few question for you. If you think your daughter is planning on having sex in her life you might consider it. If she has premarital sex say at 17 is cervical cancer or even precancereous cells a punishment you could live with. What about if your daughter waits to get married and her new husband carries the virus. Don't fool yourself paps aren't 100% my friend is proof of that. For the writer who was concerned about her young children getting vaccinated and scarring them because of the sex factor. When you got them vaccinated for measles, mumps, polio did you explain to your infant what you were preventing. When I have my daughter vaccinated she will get the simple explanation that it is a vaccination to reduce the risk of the virus HPV that can increase your risk of cervical cancer. Nobody said if you give your child HPV you can't still parent abstinence. Believe me it is much more scarring to watch a mother die of cervical cancer. To all please make educated decisions based on the current information available and what you feel is safe for you child. There are too many scenarios to use morality not to vaccinate your children. And remember Cervical Cancer is still a terminal very aggressive cancer if missed even in Upper Middle Class America.

anna said...

i just wanted to note that i thought it was interesting that your link to the fda site with them stating they didn't know how long the vaccine would be effective has magically disappeared. this tends to happen when they realize they've stuck their own foot in their mouth


Anna thanks for letting us know!

We did a search of the FDA's site and found a newer link to a .pdf that has the same information, so we're going to replace the delete page with that one.

"The duration of immunity following a complete schedule of immunization with GARDASIL has not been established."

Of course, I'm sure quite a few of our links are missing/outdated, considering how long ago we wrote this first Gardasil piece.

Anonymous said...

Gardasil vaccine tests are not long enough to say, Their Gardasil does what it says it does, It was Fast Tracked, no excusses. In animals when their wart infection goes away on its own, they do get reinfected, sometimes the reinfection when they get older specially horses these warts cause them inner tissue damage.They in the clinics work with pure strains at particle levels. How long does HPV infection cause cancer when HPV goes on with out detection.Most people do not know they have HPV. One Less Terrorism Common sence more than meets the eye.Gardasil medical blunders?not

Kaja said...

It's really depressing reading all this research about how bad Gardasil (Silgard for us Poles) is... I live in Poland, a country where 5 women die every day from cervical cancer (population 38.5 million), cervical cancer is the second most common type detected in our country and what's worse, the number of cases of cervical cancer is increasing. For me and many other Polish women the choice isn't as easy as it is for women in the USA, where, like you say, the number of such cancers is decreasing. We are faced both with the very imminent threat of cervical cancer affecting our country so strongly as well as with the risks vaccine "opponents" are so intent on scaring us with. Some of these risks are just hypotheses (the "what ifs") and it fills me with unnecessary dread. I received my second vaccine last month. Right now, if I were to take your warnings to heart (which I am partially doing, sadly), I should take into consideration the fact that I could probably die any moment now because the vaccine hasn't been tested properly. Or maybe I won't be able to have children? Or the vaccine will wear off and I'll get HPV anyway, and I'll have wasted all that money too). Either way I lose, because if iI don't take the vaccine I might as well come to terms with the fact that, as a Polish woman, my chances of dying of cervical cancer are one of the highest in Europe.

Well all this is not to say you're wrong, you might be correct... this was meant more as a way of voicing the worry currently gnawing at the back of my mind. I can honestly say I'm quite scared right now. I hope my fear is unfounded.

Anonymous said...

I am a little irritated because there are many, many posts which complain that men are not able to get the vaccine .. but what about women over 26. For one, the fact that the list basically mentions men (instead of boys) and girls already shows how inherently ignorant everyone is of thier own sexism. I mean -- I never even heard of HPV until I was 29 and now that I'm 34 have no ability to get the vaccine that is supposed to help prevent it.

How can a drug company manufacturing a vaccine to prevent cancer among women somehow neglect to test women who are most likely to get the cancer? It absolutely astounds me because, since they didn't bother to even gather a few thousand women over 26, who by the way still have sex -- many/most aren't marrying like in the old days --and to clarify, are most likely to get cervical cancer -- I'm basically screwed.

So now, a vaccine which has shown positive results on 20,000 people -- which seems quite large to me -- given that I've heard much lower numbers for other studies for drugs I've looked at -- is experimental and insurance companies will not pay for any cost of this overpriced vaccine. These 20,000 included minors which are quite hard to recruit, especially for a study on a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease.... and again, for some reason, Merck didn't consider women over 25 worthy of less disease ridden sex.

I worked for an OBGYN who specialized in cervical cancer and I've seen the havoc this illness causes. There were so many women my age who had to get hysterectomies its not even funny. Not only am I afraid of getting HPV but I don't want genital warts and I tell you, its scary how many men have this. I already had two potential partners in the past year, who have it who were kind enough to tell me and there are probably countless numbers who don't say anything.

I want to know how a woman over 30 can get this vaccine and what are the potential risks to women of this age range. Also, what specifically are the risks associated with pregnancy? If I wanted to get pregnant, how long should I wait before I get the last shot?

Michael said...

As a recently diagnosed advanced stage oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer patient caused by HPV-16 (one of the strains against which Gardasil was developed and also responsible for the majority of cervical cancers) looking at a poor survival prospect, I urge the use and further development of Gardasil, both as a vaccine and as a potential treatment for non-cervical and genital HPV expression for men and women. HPV and oral cancer - http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/hpv/index.htm

Anonymous said...

I had a feeling something was up with this vaccine when my doctor was mad that I didn't get it. Se told me that I needed it because it was almost inevitable that someday my husband would cheat on me and I would be at risk. I'm not one to assume...haha, but I think she was more interested in her commission than she was about her patients health. In college I took several microbiology classes, and have done some experimentation, and I am far, far, far from impressed by their studies thus far. Maybe in the future, but not before they can convince me scientifically, and not just with some catchy gimmick.

Anonymous said...

I lost a friend to Cervical Cancer in April.

If Gardasil was a possible preventer of Breast Cancer - a cancer that everybody fears - I wonder if we would be having this conversation.

Anonymous said...

I looked up Gardasil today, as I just returned from a specialized childrens hospital in New Jersey visiting a relative. Her roommate is an 11 year old girl who 4 months ago received the first dose of this vaccination on a Friday. That evening she spiked a fever and the next morning she had a seizure, her first one ever. Before this she had been an average, healthy girl. She is now completely paralyzed and can barely speak. She has been hospitalized for four months and receives intensive therapy. I for one will not have my daughter vaccinated with this, I'd rather her have the risk of a cancer that might be able to be cured, than a bad reaction to the aluminum in the vaccine that would stop her dead in her tracks at 11 years old.

Anonymous said...

i have really enjoyed this article, as well as the wide range of comments it has sparked. i am a 22 year old female, who got the hpv vaccine after a lot of deliberation.

i have a number of friends who have hpv, and although they have normal paps, their immune systems are constantly compromised. as an athlete, i didnt want to take that risk. as a feminist, i am also frustrated that there are no tests for hpv in men, and that women, no matter how intentional about their sex lives, may still contract hpv as men are not held accountable. in a sense, i thought that getting the vaccine would be a proactive way of protecting myself, even though i am very deliberate about my partners, and practice safe sex.

anyway, after receiving the second vaccine, i had a slight reaction: fever, intense body and joint aches, and weakness, as well as tingling and numbness in my arm. i came across this site, and want to write to speak out against women's bodies being used as a testing ground-- its a lose-lose situation: where our partners are not tested, and the vaccine we can take as a preventative measure is sketchy at best. i am not sure that i will proceed with the final shot, but i hope that the women (and men!) who read this use it as a caution, to make educated decisions, and to really think about the way power dynamics play out in our sexual lives, even if we think we are making choices which would ultimately be empowering.


Mom in ALA said...

My daughter received her first garasil shot in December and other than some tingling in the arm at the shot injection site and a sore arm, she did fine. She had the second shot in February; she said it hurt worse and not long after that (about 2 or 3 wks) she started complaining of extreme pain in her legs that Motrin or Tylenol would not help. By the middle of March, she was passing out at school and was feeling very tired all the time. On our first trip to the EMR, they said she had Orthostatic Hypertension. She did everything she was supposed to do and nothing helped as far as giving her energy or keeping her from passing out. Second trip to the ER resulted in a hospital stay of a wk where it was determined that her B12 was very low and she was also experiencing extreme abdomen pain and chest pain. She saw a endocrinologist because they thought she might also have reactive hypoglycemia....negative. Then they thought she might be having mini-seizures so we saw a neurologist. Her heart was racing and her BP was dropping when it was not suppose to. She felt worse than if she had a very bad case of the flu all the time. Her skin was extrmely painful to the touch and she bruised easily. We were then sent to a cardiologist who determined that she needed to be put on a beta blocker to see if it would help her heart rate. He determined that she has Dysautonomia and sent us to a special center in another city for evaluation. So now it is one day at a time. She won't be leaving for college like all her other friends this week because she is still to sick to go. Before my 18 yr old daughter took Garasil, she was healthy, very active and on the go all the time. Now she spends most days in bed because she doesn't have the energy to do more than exist. I blame Garasil and I hope that someone somewhere gets the point across to all the other parents to NOT allow their daughters to take these horrible life changing shots that have not been tested and were produced by a company pushing to gain back some of the revenue they lost with the Vioxx escapade. Regardless of that, they TOOK my daughter from me and now we don't know if we will ever get her back again. I know one thing, when it became time for her third shot, I told the doctor "HELL NO!" and I am telling everyone who will listen what happened to us. No one can believe the change in my daughter. It is as if she is a shell of the person she used to be. But I guess we are one of the lucky ones.......atleast Garasil and Merck didn't KILL my daughter. Should I send them a thank you note?

Anonymous said...

Although I understand the risks involved, with health care today and definitely in the future- these "risks" most likely will not happen. Both my mom and my sister had HPV. I do disagree with all of you that say that it is not a big deal/able to be cured easily. My sister has had 3 surgeries and abnormal pap smears for years. If she has to have the surgery again she will have to have a hysterectomy and will not be able to have children. My mother had problems with having children (a miscarriage and a pregnancy with tons of complications). Therefore, I believe we should do what we can to wipe out this cancer. I mean do you really think they had the resources and testing that we do now when they did polio vaccines?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but anyone who does not get their child this vaccine is just being a bad parent. This vaccine is about prevention, to help your child and to make sure they are protected against the number 1 cause of cervical cancer. This vaccine might nt protect against all HPV diseases but it protects against the ones that are most likely to cause high risk HPV infections that lead to cancer. It is always worth it to try and protect yourself and your children. I got diagnosed with cervial cancer caused by HPV about 3 months before the vaccine became available. I'm 23 years old, I have already had 2 surgeries, I go to the doctor twice a month and I am in constant pain. I will also probably never have children because of the effects of this disease. The type of HPV that caused my cancer would have been prevented by the gardasil vaccine. It just wasn't out in time to protect me. Parents who stand there saying that their children will never get the vaccine, shame on you. Even if you practice safe sex, it is possible to contract this disease andto ignore a vaccine that can prevent it is just plain ignorance.

Nicosha said...

My doctor insisted i get it!
and my mom agreed to.
but then i found out
that i could faint, get a fever, be dizzy, DIE, and many more.. and that it is still being tested by scientist. I have an appointment for it tomorrow but now that ive read all this.. I DONT THINK SO lol.
Thanks for researching and writing this it made things alot clearer and made my decision real easy!

Anonymous said...

When you contract gential hpv you'll be wishing you'd got the vaccine... don't be stupid; there are medical reports all over the internet about the gardasil trials, get the facts not some stupid blogger's opinion. Oh, and if you're a guy, and you want it, talk to your doctor; It can be done.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but anyone who gives this vaccine to their children without researching it first IS A BAD PARENT. I won't give my daughter the expensive, untest vaccine du jour just because the TV told me, and certainly not because some 23 year old on the Internet might think I'm a bad parent.

Rebekah said...

Iv done a bit of research on Gardasil and mainly the HPV virus and I was interested to know that HPV is in most animals (mammals, reptiles, birds) that it has been found in children and can be passed on from the mother through birth (c-section or not). Its an extremely contagious virus which usually the body just fights off itself. So as far as Gardasil goes why are they saying you need it as soon as you start having sex?? You most likely will already have it or have had it in your life. If you also look at the Gardasil trials data (which yes you can get its the raw scientific material over 400 pages worth) they found that those who had the virus before getting the injection actually had a raised chance of contracting cancer. So wouldn't you want to know if you had HPV before getting this vaccine? Why don't they tell the public this? But it the end I wouldn't even get the vaccine because there is actually know scientific proof HPV causes cancer, its just assumed that it is because it usually accompanies cancer. Maybe this is just because your immune system hasn't been able to fight it of cause your sick. There are over 100 types of known HPV and they are always discovering more. In the trials the strains of HPV your immunized against (only 4) where always replaced by other strains. So how do they not know that these strains might be worse? As cervical cancer takes 20-40 yrs to develop how do they know these strains aint worse, they have only been testing for 5 years! I could go on and on and on. JUST LOOK AT THE DATA YOURSELF.

Anonymous said...

I am currently getting my last shot in the series for Gardasil. I have come across information that pertains to Gardasil. Gardasil has been tested in men and has worked and all it is waiting on is FDA approval. When men get vaccinated that will bring more light onto the situation. I was diagnosed with HPV last year and got it taken care of. I opted to get vaccinated so I can protect myself from the other strains of HPV. If there is a preventative measure to keep me from getting cervical cancer, I am going to take it and recommend that others get vaccinated. I am currently 27 years old. I was scared when I first heard about HPV, because I had no idea what it was.

Rebekah said...

In reply to the comment above me, you look like you have been doing a little research and found out about men getting the vaccine, but if you really did your research you would know that there is actually no scientific proof the HPV is related to cancer at all they just assume that it is and there are many strains of HPV so are most likely to just catch another strain once you have been vaccinated. You cannot 'get rid' of HPV it is one of the most contagious and common viruses that exists. Perhaps you should find out what HPV really is before 'vaccinating' yourself against it.

Christy said...

you're totally right, so many people just rush onto getting it without waiting to see if there are actually any more potential danger later on in their life that might be worse than taking the risk and not getting the shot. for me, i don't think i am going to be sexual active for a while as i am still 14, i think i am just going to wait until i get a little older. ~Thanks for the information, i didn't kno about merck's scandal before and thats something else to consider before getting the shot.

Rebekah said...

Why does everyone keep saying they don't need to get the vaccine until they become sexually active and that you can only get HPV when you start having sex???? ITS NOT TRUE. Gardisil is useless because many people will actually have HPV through out their life. Right from childhood even, possibly from birth. Its not going to jump out and get you as soon as you start having sex. Your body is perfectly capable of ridding itself of this virus, its been doing it your whole life so why vaccinate now? Its all a big money scam.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful range of opinions and facts. I'm a 23 year old who is having pre-cancerous cervical lesions removed next week. I wish I had been given the opportunity to receive this vaccine, but it is a very personal decision.

I CHOSE to have sex before marriage. I TRUSTED my boyfriend of 3 years. I HAVE a family history of cervical cancer. There are so many individual factors that are presented to women. We need to be responsible for our bodies and take small risks when large ones are already stacked up against us. Yes, the vaccine is pricey. The $5,000 bill for my procedure without any insurance will be as well.

If you are concerned about long term effects, by all means wait, but please check out what is in other substances as well, not just ones with charged up arguments. Many of you will put your daughters on the birth control pill (which interestingly enough increases your risk of developing cervical cancer)"just in case they make a mistake". What if the same mistake gives them HPV?

And to the woman who instructed others to "feel him up" to see if he has HPV: The strains which cause cervical cell changes do NOT present physical symptoms in men.

I wish the best for all of your cervices.

Krista said...

That tidbit on cervical cancer rate increase and oral contraceptives got me researching (I am a molecular biology student) and you won't believe what I found...

"Our analysis suggests that risk of invasive squamous
cervical cancer and ISC for women who tested positive
for HPV DNA is increased three-fold if they have used
oral contraceptives for 5 years or longer."

You can read the scientific article at http://image.thelancet.com/extras/01art3030web.pdf. This risk is noted on the medication's package. Don't you think 3-fold is something worth putting in bold print?

Allison said...

Hi Ladies,

I bet it's ridiculous (or satisfying, not sure which) to still be getting comments on this so long after posting it.

I just wanted to thank you for bringing up this info and helping me research a little more. I, too, am suspicious of "Big Pharma" (and even my health care provider!)'s serious push of this vaccine. I went to the OB/GYN for the first time a few weeks ago (I'm a non-SA 21 year old.. it seemed like it was time to get over there) and was a little bit disgusted by the number of times my GYN said the word Gardasil. I felt like I had been railroaded, and not given any direct information. Even the stirrups had little Gardasil covers!

My undergraduate degree is in sociology, so being suspicious of social institutions and their motives is basically my job. Thanks again for helping me to find a little extra data in making my decision. I don't know what I'll do yet, but this has been helpful.

Leah'sMom said...

I'm a mom with an almost 11 year old. We live in VA and I have just been informed that if we DON'T get this "vaccine" for our daughter they will not allow her to enter the 6th grade. My husband and I are all for protecting our children from illness but we are really worried about getting this vaccine for our daughter. It has nothing to do with moral issues but more so what are the long term effects this drug could have on our daughter. With it having aluminum in it could she suffer damage, have children with disabilities or not be able to have a child at all. I think it is ridiculous to mandate this for girls. I wish there was some way to get the mandate over turned.

Chris said...

I'm a 18 year old college student and I have had the first two of the shots and my little sister has also she is 17. She is doing fine but since I have had the shot I have lost movement and strength I dont know if this is related to the shot or not but I really wish I would have read the side effects before I had the shot. I was really iffy getting the shot anyway before I read on it but my Mom and my doctor said it was a good idea. I also think what they are trying to do is great. I'm just worried about the side effects that they havent seen in the groups. But as I was saying there is a lot of good in this shot. My sister's boyfriend has HPV and if it lowers her chance of getting cervical cancer I'm all for it. Thankyou for putting up the information it was really helpful in my search thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

I'm living in New Zealand and all female high school and uni students get the vaccination for free at the moment - we can give consent if we're 16 or over to have it done at school, otherwise parents have to take responsibility. So I dunno, it's hard for me to feel too much like it's all about the money. Still, some good points, I didn't know a lot of the things you mentioned :)


I can't speak specifically for NZ, as we're in the U.S... but when a vaccine is free to you, that doesn't mean that the drug company isn't still making money. Maybe the school district or the state government, etc. is paying for it, but trust me, Merck (or whoever) isn't just giving it away.

It's not all about the money, but yeah, they're still getting their money even if you're not the one paying it.

Rebekah said...

Un-fortunately, yes the government is sponsoring the New Zealand Gardasil vaccination project. But when making your decision about receiving the vaccine you shouldn't be thinking about the money making claims you should be thinking about the necessity of this vaccine, the truth behind it, and most importantly the side affects. Just because its free doesn't mean its good.

Anonymous said...

I am impressed. Healthy scepticism, and exhorting people to look after their own health. After NZ's mengicoccal B fiasco you'd think we'd be more sceptical. Indiscriminate use of any vaccine and compulsory measures can be extremely harmful...

"HPV vaccine increases the incidence, according to the US FDA, of cervical cancer 44.7% in girls and women who already have HPV." (Although you might want to check that figure - it seems very high)

Ok, otherwise this vaccine seems *relatively* safe, but I'm not prepared to bet my daughter's life on it. Can I suggest though that if people do choose this -- or any other vaccination a little extra vitamin C seems to reduce the complications found with vaccines.

(Once bitten - totally shy)

KT said...

Thank you for having this information available to me and others who just haven't felt "right" about this vaccine. When I took my daughter in for her jr. high vaccinations I was asked if I wanted her to receive the Gardasil vaccination. I declined because I didn't know enough about it. The information I've been able to find on your site and others has confirmed my nagging feelings of concern regarding this vaccination. Thanks again!

Bitchface said...

I hope Chris up there falls into a black hole.

"The ads for this vaccine are incredible. They try and make it seem like nothing will happen to you as long as you take the shot. As some one commented earlier, the vaccine only work some of the time(70%) on only 4 out of the hundreds of known strands. Does this seem like adequate protection to you?"

That's some fanatastic logic. By these standards, since condoms aren't always effective I should just forego them all together.

"Also the fact that these ads do not promote safe sex or abstinence as a viable alternative. Even if you take this drug you can still attract all the other terrible and harmful viruses and infections. The vaccine seems to be presented as a free ticket from infection. The fact of the matter is you can't have full protection from a vaccine. People need to learn to either use a freakin condom or don't have sex. How hard is that, really? People just dont want to take care of themselves and take the responsibility for their actions."

Vaccines aren't drugs. -1 point. Aside from which, you can tell people not to have sex until you're blue in the face and it won't guarantee that will listen. People make bad decisions all the time, but fact is, no man is an island, and someone's bad decision can have a ripple effect. -1 point.

"If you look into most vaccines they are just a big joke. Do you remember the MMR shots we were mandated to take when we were growing up? Do any of you know anything about the diseases related to these shots? Measles, Mumps and Rubella are illness's that are not fatal and considered childhood diseases."

During 1999–2004, campaigns lead by WHO and UNICEF led to improvements in measles vaccination coverage that averted an estimated 1.4 million measles deaths worldwide. Aside from which, are you aware of something called Congenital rubella syndrome? Between 1964 and 1965, 20,000 children were born with CRS. CRS can cause deafness, blindness, cardiac problems, and developmental delays, among other things. Not fatal, you were saying?

"Also, another thing most people don't know that Often times vaccines contain Mercury to help preserve the vaccine."

As of March of 2000, thimerosal-free vaccines are easily available. And anyway, if Mercury is something to be avoided at all costs, no matter how small the dose, I hope you don't plan to eat fish any time soon.

Anonymous said...

I'll just say this, I'm 24 and contracted HPV back when I was 16. My doctor still recommended getting this vaccine so I did. I've had nothing but health problems since! The day I recieved my first shot I had what the doctor considers a panic attack and I've had severe anxiety since. I've had to studies done on me but I would say it's best described as a neurological thing as I have never had any kind of anxiety my entire life until that day. Needless to say, I refused to get my last dose. My daughters will not recieve this vaccine as long as I can help it!

Anonymous said...

I am 24 next month i'll be 25. I went in for my yearly pap a week ago. My "new" doctor started talking to me about the Gardasil vaccine. Usually I do research before going proceeding with anything medical. But she seemed so nice and I just got the shot. Well she said I would feel dizzy after and I did. But she didn't tell me it'd last all week and that I'd feel sick to my stomach have diarrhea and feel depressed. I am a normally healthy person. Ever since I got this shot I have NOT been myself. I will not be receiving the second shot. I am concerned about the long term effects the my doctor failed to discuss with me. As a matter a fact she said nothing to me about the side effects only that I would feel dizzy and might have a slight fever. I feel like I cant trust any physician after this. Please do not put yourselves or your daughters through this. If I could go back I'd do the research first and say NO!!

Ginger said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm 24 and I was discussing getting this vaccine with my boyfriend last night. While we've both been bitten by the conspiracy theory bug, I couldn't help but feel like I should go ahead and get the shots. All of the hype alongside my mother's and friend's advice had me convinced that if I decided against it, there would be an apocalyptic death awaiting me. Thank you for giving me such a comprehensive jumping off point for my research!! You da best.

FloridaFruitcake said...

Thank you for your post. I was bullied into getting this shot, last year, and have had nothing but negative side-effects. I started at the age of 23, after my ob/gyn pushed it at every visit. I was against it from the start and in hindsight should have listened to my instincts. I started the process May 11 2009, with the final shot occurring Dec 14, 2009. Don't let big business bully you into a decision you do not feel comfortable with. As you stated, we don't know the ful scope of long-term side effects. My gut instinct is telling me that it has quite possibly ruined the chance of having biological children. For myself, the shot caused me to have a huge outbreak of acne/rosacea (something I had never experienced before) which caused incredible scarring, on my cheeks, on what used to be flawless skin. I am now undergoing laser resurfacing treatment with a plastic surgeon to hopefully somewhat correct the issue. Also, the third shot sent me to the ER twice, due to tingling and numbness in my arms and legs and dizziness. And when I called my doctor when the symptoms onset, I was told 'it might not be due to a reaction from the shot.' ALTHOUGH the symptoms came on the night the final shot was administered. I think that is what has me fired up the most, is that these doctors are more than willing to give this crap out but not take responsibility when something goes wrong and that it must all be in my head. All in all, my family and I have spent $4500 trying to fix something that didn't even have to happen. The facial correction procedure was $3000, and the 2 ER visits we paid $1500 out of pocket. The ads make it sound all fine and dandy, but this shot has been on the market less than 5 years. We have NO IDEA the longterm ramifications. I am an educated individual, with a Masters degree, and should have listened to my gut instead of being swept up in the hype. Has anyone else noticed that the "One Less" commercial is no longer run on tv... Makes one stop and think!

Anonymous said...

Over a year ago, my husband and I had a very long conversation about this vaccine and our daughter. Texas was pushing the "mandatory" vaccine for all girls 9 and up before they could enroll in school. We did our research and decided that she would have plenty of time, 10 years from now, to do her own research and make her own decision. We were STRONGLY OPPOSED to having our daugther vaccinated with the vaccine. Our doctor was PUSHING this vaccine at our appointment yesterday. She and I (in front of my daugther) had a LONG conversation about my research and beliefs against the vaccine.

Yesterday, I took our son and our daughter to the doctor's office to have their school physicals for next year. We realized that both kids needed their vaccinations (tetnus and meningitis) before we could enroll for next year. I approved the tetnus and meningitis shots for both kids. Our daugther received her two injections (vaccinations) and went to the waiting room while I went to my son's room for his physical and vaccinations.

The PA came and got me from my son's room, asked me if we could talk a minute, and led me to another private exam room. She calmly apologized and told me that they had a made a mistake and injected my child with the wrong vaccine. They had given her Gardasil instead of the Meningitis vaccine. She apologized over and over and told me that she knew how against it I was and that I would not be "billed" for the Gardasil.

Are you kidding?

I went BACK to the doctor's office after discussing with my husband and other family members to get my daughter's file. The vaccination form, that I had signed, had been "added to" and basically showed that I approved the vaccine administration. I was FURIOUS. Still AM!

Today, 16 hours later, my 11 year old daughter woke up with a slight fever and is complaining of weakness and "heaviness" in her left side (the Gardasil was injected on the left). She is home from school. I've missed work. I only hope and pray that she doesn't have permanent side effects from a vaccine that we were adament about her NOT receiving. I also wonder, is there a lawsuit in my future against the medical clinic....

shocked said...

Recent Anonymous post: I cannot believe this!!!! This is so terrible and makes me so angry as well, I hope very much that your daughter does not have any side effects. I would be paying special attention to boosting her immune system and general health at this time. The thing that is so upsetting about this is that it just shows were the medical system is, I believe Doctors and clinics are just another public service, you are a client just like you would go to a hair dresser, dentist or even mechanic. You have right over your body and the way you look after it and they are there to provide you with a service to assist and guide you BUT NOT CONTROL you!! I would be leaving and definitely making as much noise about it as possible (media perhaps) this should concern everyone and not just those who choose not to vaccinate with a certain vaccine....

xlaetizia said...

Thanks for this post! I would never get that terrible vaccine. Anyone who is rushing out to get it, especially the 26 year old woman who paid $700 for one shot, is a MORON.

As another commenter said, we have better diseases to spend our money on. Women should practice safe sex and go to the gyno every year for an exam, not blindly go along with some money grubbing company.

Liz said...

Actually with no pap testing at all, only 1% of women would get cervical cancer. With everyone screening, one third of women will still get this cancer. (false negatives)
0.65% of women are helped big time by smears, 99.35% of women derive no benefit at all. (this includes the 0.35% who get false negatives)
Now for the hidden downside - to help the 0.65% of women, huge numbers of women will endure unnecessary colposcopy, LEEP and biopsies after getting false positives. This is a very unreliable test.
Annual and biannual screening carries the most risk for no additional benefit - 95% and 77% of women will be referred at some point with "abnormal" pap smears, almost all are false positives.
You can get an abnormal pap for infections, inflammation, trauma (athletic sex, childbirth) hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause) and for perfectly normal changes to the cervix especially in women under 25.
Women under 25 carry the highest risk of all, the tiny number of women who get this cancer in that age group are usually missed by smears but huge numbers of healthy women are referred for "treatment" for false positives. 1 in 3 smears will be abnormal, but cancer incredibly rare. Massive and harmful over-treatment. Countries like the UK, the Netherlands and Finland do not screen women under 25 (UK) or 30. (The Netherlands and Finland)

To protect yourself from harm, don't let doctors over-screen you and also, know your risk profile. Mine was so low, I decided to skip smears altogether after getting some balanced advice from a foreign doctor. (my husband and I were virgins)
Many women would choose not to have smears or have fewer smears if they were told the truth about this testing.
Finland has the lowest rates for cervical cancer and false positives in the world and they test 5 yearly from 30 - 5 to 7 tests in total.

Women over-treated are often left with problems - a weakened or damaged cervix.
Infertility, miscarriages, problems during pregnancy, pre-term delivery, premature babies and psychological issues.

My close friend has virtually no cervix left after two negative cone biopsies caused by false positives. She had these treatments when she was in her early 20's - she would have been protected from inappropriate screening if she'd lived in another country.
The excessive colposcopy business in the States is worth one billion dollars a year.
Most women are unaware this cancer is rare, their risk tiny up to a maximum of 1% and few understand the high risk of false positives.
We're supposed to be giving our informed consent for this testing, but doctors have always ignored that legal requirement.

Anyone interested in protecting themselves from harm might like to read the medical articles linked from Dr Joel Sherman's medical privacy blog - the articles are under women's privacy issues. I'd recommend anything by Dr Angela Raffle, UK cervical cancer screening expert (Her research published in the British Medical Journal - 1000 women need regular smears for 35 years to save ONE woman from this cancer!)
Also, Dr Richard DeMay and his amazing article on the "real" value of smears and the risks with over-screening.
Routine pelvic and breast exams - question the need...the former are not recommended in many countries - they are of low/poor clinical value in a symptom-free women and expose you to risk even unnecessary surgery.
Routine clinical breast exams - don't bring down the death rate, but cause biopsies and some think they're a risk factor for cancer.
Self-exam - been out for a few years now - same problem, they don't help, but cause biopsies.
Consider Dr Joan Austoker's breast awareness - taking note of the look and shape of your breasts in the mirror after you shower.
Mammograms - be very careful - lots of risk information is coming out of the UK and the Nordic Cochrane Institute. They may increase the risk of cancer!
Check out the articles at that website or the Violet to Blue site.

Anonymous said...

my 11 year old daughter is very ill from just one shot of Gardasil. Causing a Lupus like Autoimmune Disease. This is a Blog about her condition as she became ill after her shot.Please Vote if you had a bad reaction to Gardasil or other vaccine.


Christine said...

If you don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, step one is referencing scientific studies or recognized, reliable organizations, and not referencing other conspiracy theorists who have been debunked all over the place. encouraging people to do their research is great - I'm not getting this vaccine either, because I don't like the evidence. But anyone making decisions on the basis of information from certain of the websites you provided is being screwed over and lied to, as much by you as by them.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully everybody knows this by now, but Gardasil is not only for women - it is also effective for men. Sure it only protects against 2 types of HPV that cause 70% of all cases of cervical cancer but isn't it worth the extra protection? Personally I would rather not risk it.

Anonymous said...

the largest funder of research on throat cancers at Vanderbilt Med Ctr is a man who has throat cancer caused by HPV or oral sex HPV and they are also funding research into young women and the vaccine...but to protect men from getting HPV and thus cancer from the women NOT solely to protect women! Men are not being given the vaccien and do not have the risk the young women do!

Anonymous said...

According to my Primary Care doc, they are in trials now to give this vaccine to men as well. I actually need it, but my insurance won't pay for it. I'm 37 and considered not a risk. I find this offensive. Apparently, they've decided I should be married (I'm not) or celibate (no thanks). I'm not a whore or slut, but I did contract the virus and I have a lesion. Because the more strains you have, the more susceptible you are, it is recommended that I get the vaccine. At 600.00 out of pocket. Why is viagra covered, but not Gardisil when it is deemed medically necessary. I'm appalled. I'd sue, but I'm a teacher and so I am worried that my name will be floating around the internet if I use my name in a lawsuit. I'm guessing this is just what they are hoping for. It's upsetting!!! I trust my doc, and she says it's safe and she's making her sons get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. If I had daughters, I would get this vaccine for them. I feel that it is safe and necessary to stop the spread of a potentially dangerous virus.

Anonymous said...

Once again women get half of the information and no risk information. It's been released recently that Gardasil actually increases the risk of cervical cancer IF you've already been exposed to HPV. I heard some women say they'd probably have it, why not, even though they'd already had sex.
I don't know how they get off manipulating the truth and leaving out vitally important information.
Where are the groups that are supposed to be protecting women?
Men got risk information really quickly for PSA testing and they have a choice about screening, doctors are careful to get their informed consent even though the cancer is common.
We're still waiting for those things and cervical cancer has always been rare. The 70% reduction in death rate sounds impressive, but the numbers are small, it was never a major threat to women, always an uncommon cancer that occurred as frequently as mouth cancer and slightly more often than testicular cancer. Also, the cancer was in decline before screening started so other factors are at work....better condoms, fewer women smoking and more women having hysterectomies and other unknown factors.
Google the subject and you'll find the articles re increased risk of cancer vaccinating HPV infected women with Gardasil.
Do your own research, these people treat women very disrespectfully, they couldn't care less about our health - it's all money, power and politics.
The risk of this cancer is still very low, even if a HPV infected woman gets vaccinated...

jayme taylor said...

So i guess i should start from the beginning... so i had a pap february of last year and it was fine.. normal, ya... then my doc talked to me about getting gardasil.. i was gullable, so i got it... they gave me the first 2 injections in mjy lower side like my butt almost... then i went in for my 3rd one and they told me to give them my arm.. and i said, "well why dont you just give it to me back there like the other 2 times?" she said, " no, they dont recomend that we do that." i was like O.O... wtf, right... and so i got it in my arm... painfullest shot ever.. so on march 14th of this year i went in for my yearly check up pap... and guess what?!! it was abnormal. how the hell?! and i have been with the same guy since before i got my pap the year before.. and they said they caught it "early"... how did this happen?! so they were like ok, you'll have to go in for a coloscopy to have them remove the abnormal cells. so i waited for like 3 weeks and finally i got to go to the docs.. guess what the doctor did to help me??! nothing... nothing at all.. he just told me to wait till i was 21.. he said that now that i had an abnormal pap, i dont have to get another one till im 21... im only 18 right now... the doc told me that NO GIRL UNDER @! HAS EVER GOTTEN CERVICAL CANCER!!! I HIGHLY DOUBT THAT... so i did some research on gardasil and and i found that gardasil was giving girls abnormal paps and guess what?? CANCER!!!! and i asked him all the stuff abhout gardasil and he was covering for them... all the facts that are listed on your page... they denyed... so i have to sit and wait and do nothing?! oh hell no... i wont be silenced... we need to take a stand against this... oh ya... theres more... i have had bad pain in the joint of my hip... (the side that i got the shot on) and i have been having a great deal of migranes lately... someone help me.. im young and i dont know what to do... on top of all of this, i havent had my period since january!!!! it is now april.. april16th... you can email me @ jaymetaylor66@yahoo.com or acid_1012@yahoo.com ... thanks for posting this site... things need to be known..

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