WBEZ | HPV http://www.wbez.org/tags/hpv Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Activism: In Memoriam-Michele Baldwin http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-09/global-activism-memoriam-michele-baldwin-96268 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-10/michele 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Doing <em>Global Activism</em> stories, we meet a lot of memorable people, but one person was especially hard to forget. Last October, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-27/global-activism-paddling-down-ganges-fight-cervical-cancer-93540">we spoke with Michele Baldwin</a>, right before she left to <a href="http://starryganga.com/">stand-up paddle 700 miles down India’s Ganges River</a> to raise awareness and money for the <a href="http://giahc.org">Global Initiative against HPV and Cervical Cancer</a>.</p><p>In November, Michele successfully completed the trip. It was wildly successful and received a lot of coverage in India. Her story was personal because Michele was in the final stages of terminal Cervical Cancer.</p><p>We were saddened to hear that Michele, mother of three children, passed away this Sunday (2/5/12) at age 45. We send our sincere condolences to Michele’s family and friends.</p><p>As Michele undertook her final journey, her mother Ruth, posted this message on Michele’s <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Starry-Ganga-SUP-Expedition-for-HPVCervical-Cancer/101174809992264">blog</a>:</p><p><em>And now Michele Baldwin, our daughter, is on the last river of her life, her Buddhist journey. And even doing that, as she says "actively dying", she is continuing her message to all women: "end this disease. Get tested. Get a Pap today if you haven't.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 Feb 2012 15:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-09/global-activism-memoriam-michele-baldwin-96268 U.S. panel: Boys should get HPV vaccine, too http://www.wbez.org/story/us-panel-boys-should-get-hpv-vaccine-too-93455 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-25/AP070202060276.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>ATLANTA — A government panel is recommending that young boys also get the HPV shot. That's the vaccine now given to girls to prevent cervical cancer, which has become embroiled in the politics of the Republican presidential primary season.</p><p>Doctors argue that it could protect boys against genital warts and some kinds of cancers. But they also say vaccinating 11- and 12-year old boys could also help prevent the spread of the sexually transmitted virus to girls.</p><p>The HPV vaccine has been controversial since it was recommended for girls five years ago. And only about a third of adolescent girls have been fully vaccinated against the virus.</p><p>The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the recommendation Tuesday. Federal health officials usually adopt what the panel says and asks doctors and patients to follow the recommendations.</p><p>Attempts to require the vaccine for American girls sparked debate and complaints that such mandates intrude on family decisions about sex education. In Texas, lawmakers fought off a 2007 order by Gov. Rick Perry requiring the shots for sixth-grade girls amid questions about vaccine's safety, efficacy and cost. Perry's Republican opponents have made the vaccine an issue in the primary.</p></p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 15:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/us-panel-boys-should-get-hpv-vaccine-too-93455 HPV vaccine: The science behind the controversy http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-18/hpv-vaccine-science-behind-controversy-92170 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-19/schoolgirl_hpv.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The first vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, came out five years ago. But now it's become a hot political topic, thanks to a Republican presidential debate in which candidate Michelle Bachmann inveighed against "innocent little 12-year-old girls" being "forced to have a government injection."</p><p>Behind the political fireworks is a quieter backlash against a public health strategy that's won powerful advocates in the medical and public health community.</p><p>It appears this vaccine gets people riled up because it involves sex and 11-year-old girls.</p><p>The two approved vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, are designed to protect against a sexually transmitted virus. That's why Julie Stewart was shocked when the pediatrician said her 11-year-old Sophie should get it.</p><p>"My daughter is so not-sexually-active that it seems very premature to even think about protecting her from cervical cancer," Stewart says.</p><p>Stewart says she tends to have faith in doctors. So she pondered why she reacted that way.</p><p>"I realize it's probably more about my squeamishness with the thought of her becoming sexually active than the vaccination itself," she says. "It's not the science. I think it's my own issues around her developing sexually."</p><p>Stewart lives in Washington, D.C., which requires the vaccine for middle-school girls. Virginia is the only other place to mandate it. Both let you opt out with a doctor's note. Dozens of other states are debating whether to mandate the vaccine.</p><p><strong>The case for fighting cervical cancer</strong></p><p>Many find the public health case for HPV vaccination compelling. Cervical cancer strikes about 12,000 US women a year and kills around 4,000. Strong backers of the vaccine include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Practitioners and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p>The vaccine requires three shots over six months and costs upwards of $400, which is not always covered by insurers or government agencies.</p><p>Milwaukee pediatrician Rodney Willoughby, a designated spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, says there's a very good reason for the big push to get pre-teen girls vaccinated. The idea is to get it done well before their first sexual encounter.</p><p>"This is being timed just before you start to have those discussions about the birds and the bees," Willoughby says.</p><p>Studies done before widespread HPV vaccination show that by the time they're 15, nearly 10 percent of American girls are infected with HPV. By age 17, that's doubled to nearly 20 percent.</p><p>Some research also indicates that many parents are clueless about when their children start having sex.</p><p>"Ideally none of our children is going to be sexually active until they meet Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong, and that's the end of the story," Willoughby says. "But it happens, and sometimes you're not aware of it. And we can't prevent [HPV infection] once that exposure's occurred."</p><p>Willoughby says his daughter will get the vaccine next year, when she turns 11.</p><p><strong>A lobbying effort from manufacturers</strong></p><p>But Dr. Diane Harper, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, says the vaccine is being way over-sold.</p><p>That's pretty striking, because Harper worked on studies that got the vaccines approved. And she's accepted grants from the manufacturers, although she says she doesn't any longer.</p><p>Harper changed her mind when the vaccine makers started lobbying state legislatures to require schoolkids to get vaccinated.</p><p>"Ninety-five percent of women who are infected with HPV never, ever get cervical cancer," she says. "It seemed very odd to be mandating something for which 95 percent of infections never amount to anything."</p><p>By Harper's calculations, the tried-and-true method of regular Pap smears is a more effective way to prevent cervical cancer than the vaccines. "Pap smear screening is far and away the biggest thing a woman can do to protect herself, to prevent cervical cancer," she says.</p><p>Of course, cervical exams and Pap smears are not universally done, they're invasive, and when the test comes up abnormal, the woman faces further diagnostic tests and possibly a procedure to obliterate pre-cancerous growths.</p><p>Apart from the comparative advantages of vaccine versus Pap smears, Harper has another objection to mandating early vaccination at this point. She points out that studies so far show the vaccines protect for four or five years. Scientists hope protection will last for 10 years or more, but it's possible young women may need a booster shot later.</p><p>As it stands now, Harper says, vaccinating an 11-year-old girl might not protect her when she needs it most – in her most sexually active years.</p><p><strong>A dangerous vaccine?</strong></p><p>There's another reason parents balk. Some worry the vaccine could be dangerous.</p><p>Two children have died of a rare neurological disorder – an early and accelerated form of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease – after getting the vaccine.</p><p>Last month, the independent Institute of Medicine found no good evidence that these deaths, or any other serious side effects, were cause by the vaccine.</p><p>The CDC has examined 35 deaths that occurred among 35 million young people who received the vaccine. It also concluded there is no evidence of cause-and-effect.</p><p>"We have not identified a significant likelihood of serious adverse events following vaccine," says Dr. Joseph Bocchini, chairman of pediatrics at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, who chairs CDC's working group on HPV vaccines. "This is a very safe vaccine."</p><p>But as much as he believes in the vaccine, Bocchini doesn't think the government should require kids to get it yet.</p><p>"We want to get some experience with it," he says. "We want to educate physicians and other providers about the benefits of the vaccine. We want to educate the public about the infection and its consequences."</p><p>So for now, the CDC's lead advisor thinks the decision should be left to parents.</p><p>Some parents, like Dr. Willoughby, will go ahead and get it. "If in 20 years time, my daughter, with two children at home, develops cervical cancer, and I didn't give her the vaccine, I'm going to be looking pretty hard in the mirror at myself," he says.</p><p>And some parents, like Julie Stewart, will think about it some more.</p><p>"Our doctor plans to talk to us about it at my daughter's 12-year wellness visit," Stewart says. "So, you know, maybe we'll do it then."</p><p>For her, it's not really a question of whether. It's a question of when.</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Sun, 18 Sep 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-18/hpv-vaccine-science-behind-controversy-92170 Pediatricians fact-check Bachmann's bashing of HPV vaccine http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-13/pediatricians-fact-check-bachmanns-bashing-hpv-vaccine-91973 <p><p>Now the nation's pediatricians have waded deep and early into the race for the presidency. In an unusual instance of political fact-checking of a candidate's statements by physicians themselves, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a tough prescription for Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann: Get your facts straight on the HPV vaccine.</p><p>In case you missed it, she sparred with Texas Gov. Rick Perry Monday night over his executive order that <a href="http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/09/13/failed-hpv-requirement-haunts-perrys-campaign-/">would have mandated vaccination</a> of state schoolgirls against human papillomavirus, a cause of cervical cancer.</p><p>"To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong," Bachmann said. "Little girls who have a potentially dangerous reaction to this drug don't get a mulligan," she said. "You don't get a do-over."</p><p>Perry defended the decision, but conceded that the legal mechanism to reach the goal should have been different.</p><p>But on the <em>Today</em> show Tuesday morning, <a href="http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/09/13/7743549-bachmann-continues-to-seize-on-hpv">Bachmann went further</a>, telling Matt Lauer, that a mother had approached her after the debate to recount the problems her daughter had after being vaccinated against HPV:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection. And she suffered from mental retardation thereafter. The mother was crying when she came up to me last night. I didn't know who she was before the debate. This is the very real concern and people have to draw their own conclusions.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>When Lauer pressed Bachmann on whether she would keep pushing on the issue, she answered that it has traction "with a lot of people and we'll see what people say."</p><p>Not with kids' doctors it doesn't. In an apparent first for the national pediatricians' group during a political campaign, the AAP called Bachmann out, though it stopped short of doing so by name.</p><p>In <a href="http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/hpv2011.pdf">a statement</a> released late Tuesday, Dr. O. Marion Burton, the president of the group, said:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation. There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement. Since the vaccine has been introduced, more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record.</p><p>The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend that girls receive HPV vaccine around age 11 or 12. That's because this is the age at which the vaccine produces the best immune response in the body, and because it's important to protect girls well before the onset of sexual activity. In the U.S., about 6 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year, and 4,000 women die from cervical cancer. This is a life-saving vaccine that can protect girls from cervical cancer.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></blockquote><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2011 16:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-13/pediatricians-fact-check-bachmanns-bashing-hpv-vaccine-91973