This attractively giant poster was displayed in one of the main campus cafeterias at UBC last week in a high-traffic, high-visibility area sure to be seen by hundreds if not thousands of students. I wonder how much Cervarix, the pharmaceutical company, paid to display it’s ad in one of Canada’s largest universities. Actually, it’s not really the money that bothers me about this. It’s knowing that science is again experimenting on women’s bodies. Yes, cervical cancer is bad and, as a woman, you don’t want to be stricken with it. But, do you want to inject yourself with a drug that may or may not protect you from the human papillomavirus (HPV – the virus that causes cervical cancer) without fully understanding what the potential health risks from the vaccine may be later on? And, simply put, why are women responsible for vaccinating themselves against a virus carried by men and contracted by having vaginal intercourse with men?
As I’m writing this, I see there was an article published on CBC News online last week…New Brunswick is looking at extending the vaccination program to young men as well. Ok, so perhaps I need to back off on my stance a bit and see how this plays out. It is encouraging to see some assumptions being questioned by the policymakers.