Gardasil and Women’s Experience

It seems that the vaccination against HPV, Gardasil may have contributed to paralysis in one 13-year-old girl and has had a number of complaints filed against it (from here and here).

Gardasil has faced a great deal of resistance (most vocally from religious groups – it turns the teenage girls promiscuous!), but despite has been approved by the FDA.

The reaction from here is that this is primarily an attack on women’s sexual health and freedom. It’s an attempt to spread fear.

However, in the context medicine regulating and shaping women’s reproduction it’s hardly unusual for procedures to be done for ‘women’s good’ without adequate testing and fully informed choice (examples include forced sterilisation, early IUDs, Depo-Provera and Norplant amongst others).

Futhermore, it is usually disadvantaged women such as disabled, poor or minority women that are targeted ‘for their own good’ and in clinical trials.  (h/t blackamazon). The price of sexual freedom for a few women came at the cost to these groups.

9 thoughts on “Gardasil and Women’s Experience

  1. “Futhermore, it is usually disadvantaged women such as disabled, poor or minority women that are targeted ‘for their own good’ and in clinical trials.”

    Umm…while this may have been significantly true in the past, try replacing it with college students today to be more accurate…

  2. I am a cervical cancer surviver and I would never touch Gardasil. I was almost 18 when I contracted it, but, I never tested postive for HPV, of course I got it back when there were very few known studies about cervical cancers, I had nearly half of my anatomy removed, and still when I go in 3 times a year I get pressured into taking Gardasil, and was even offered (for free) to have an IUD inserted! It’s kinda scary to see that ‘they’ want control over your sexual health. I dont consider myself promiscuous, and when I found out I had cancer, I had been in a 3 year relationship, we both were tested and came back neg for HPV. I thnk Gardasil is just another way to keep an eye on the popluation overgrowth, and with young people have kids. Scare tatic is not the way, education is… anyways, I think your post was well thought.

  3. As with all issues government and FDA related- yet another downstream solution. This is just the way the medical system operates unfortunately. Perhaps what needs to happen on this matter and all other health issues is to look at why the virus is spreading, and why people are becoming increasingly infected. Just like what happened with our agriculture when BigAgro stepped in, it is happening to our young population. As the plants required more and more chemicals to keep them alive, the same is now happening with people. Our immune systems are overloaded and compromised- leaving us open to bigger and meaner infectious diseases.
    Meghan Telpner

  4. Perhaps it’s useful to separate out the two things that get mentioned together: the issue of adequate testing, and the issue of informed choice.

    A perfectly well tested drug with useful benefits when chosen, can be harmfully distributed, when patients are forced or pressured into taking it (moral, psychological, as well as physical harm, perhaps).

    On the other hand, a very well intentioned GP who informs her patient in a way that enables choice might yet be in the position of prescribing drugs that haven’t been tested rigourously enough, or have been pushed onto the market by pharmaceutical companies.

    It seems to me that some cases of contraceptive implants and injections and their prescription, fall under 1. Perhaps Gardasil, and some other drugs, fall under 2. (I don’t know enough to commit to this).
    Wanting to protect women from cervical cancer is surely a good thing – getting the protecting vaccinations right is another matter.

  5. I’m uncertain as to whether the two are separable in this case. There seems to be the problem of adequete testing for Gardasil, at the very least. Apparently it’s very expensive for a vaccine – around £160 in the UK (compared to something like £65 for a vaccination against hepatitis A and B).

    It’s definitely a case of people wanting to do the right thing (prevent cervical cancer) but perhaps not the safest, or most cost effective way of doing so. That’s where informed choice comes in. I’m not really sure people can make a thouroughly informed choice about this.

  6. If people are making complaints about a drug, we all should know about it. It’s a safety concern. With that being said, I’m not sure how the news is being, as some would say, spun, in the media. As of yet, I have not felt this story is an attempt to control women even further, but I’m always down for a good conspiracy theory.

  7. The media coverage on gardasil was covered recently by the always astute bitch magazine. If i remember correctly, they put their finger on the way that gardasil was marketed as feminist, and cooptation of that language made it difficult to hear concerns with gardasil or its marketing from feminist corners. Perhaps if (implicitly white) feminism had listened a little more closely to the concerns of women of colour, we would have a little more healthy skepticism of being sold a bill of goods on reproductive technologies.

    Also, thanks Delilah for sharing your very interesting experience.

  8. Очень нужно было найти необходимую инфу. Кажется, тоже все можно найти безвозмездно, обрадовался, проверил – и действительно.

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