shoot 'em up
More specifically, she has the first shot in a series of three that protects against four strands of the human papilloma virus. Similar to the Hep B vaccine, the vaccination is provided in three doses - the second two months after the first and the third six months after the first.
The vaccine, Gardasil, appears to be 100% effective against HPV-16 and HPV-18, the strains that account for 70% of cervical cancers. It is almost as effective with HPV-6 and HPV-11 which cause 90% of genital warts.
The vaccine is approved for women and girls between the ages of 9 and 26. Clinical trials are underway to examine effectiveness with boys and men.
So, what about women over the age of 26? Since HPV is so widespread, is it assumed that those over 26 have been exposed? What about the women over 26 who have managed to avoid exposure through abstinence, safer sex, and luck?
And what of the women who have been exposed to one, but not all four types of HPV the vaccine offers protection against? Say you've had abnormal paps, but not warts, shouldn't you have access to the vaccine to prevent warts in the future, not to mention further abnormal paps from the other strain(s) of HPV?
Now that the vaccine is available, is there access? I know my sister was able to get the hook up in rich white suburbia but what about lower income neighborhoods? Will insurance and medicaid subsidize? Will it be available for free or on the cheap with other vaccinations? Can I ethically advocate vaccination to my teenagers in the Bronx, knowing that the series of shots cost $360?
So many questions. I suppose we will see.