HPV, the most common STD, is rising among teens. Is the answer to vaccinate girls, starting at age 9? What are the consequences and alternatives?
Did you know that human papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for most of the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the world? In the United States alone, approximately 6.2 million Americans are infected with genital HPV.1
HPV refers to more than 100 different types of viruses, over 30 of which are sexually transmitted. In most people, the virus will resolve on it's own, but for others, it can cause serious health consequences.
Symptoms of HPV
Genital warts is a symptom of HPV, but in many cases, there are no symptoms.
Of the 30 strains of HPV that are sexually transmitted, they are divided into "low risk" and "high risk" categories:
- Low risk - These strains usually cause genital warts in men (on the penis, scrotum, thighs or anus) and women (in the vagina, vulva or cervix).
- High risk - These strains typically cause abnormal Pap smears and could lead to cancer of the vagina, cervix, vulva, anus or penis.2 HPV is also responsible for some cases of throat cancer.
HPV is very contagious and is either transmitted through sexual or skin-to-skin contact (oral, anal or vaginal) with an infected partner.
HPV and Teenagers - A Hidden Epidemic
Did you know that 1 in 4 sexually active teens already has an STD and 85% don't even know they have one?3 The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are calling it a hidden epidemic.
Of all STDs, the most common is HPV, which is responsible for 95 - 98% of cervical cancer diagnoses.
While cervical cancer was once most commonly found in women over 50, two thirds of these cases are now found in women under age 25.4
Why is this happening to young women?
The biggest reason is that teenage girls are increasingly having sex, including an increase in oral sex. Time Magazine reported that more than 54% of teens aged 15 - 19 say they have engaged in oral sex at least once, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics.5 The report showed that teens feel oral sex is not as intimate as sexual intercourse, however, most do not realize they are still susceptible to STDs.
In fact, a recent study showed that HPV has been linked to oral cancer, which could explain cases of non-smokers contracting oral cancer.6
Additionally, younger women are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases than older women because of the location of the little-discussed "transformation zone."
Here is how WebMD describes it:
"The cervix contains two kinds of cells: rectangular columnar cells and flat, scale-like squamous cells. Columnar cells are constantly changing into squamous cells in an area of the cervix called the transformation (transitional) zone.
The transformation zone is an area of changing cells and it is the most common place on the cervix for abnormal cells to develop. These abnormal cells can be detected on a Pap smear.
The location of the transformation zone varies among women. In teenage girls, the transformation zone is on the immature cervix's outer surface and is more susceptible to infection than in adult women. In older women, the transformation zone may be higher in the cervical canal.7"
Teen Stress on the Rise
At the same time, teens are experiencing more stress, which weakens their immune system. Reuters Health reported on a study of more than 8,000 high school students and young people up to age 20 and found the following:8
- Their findings showed that two thirds of teens faced stress once per week, while Japanese teens felt less stress in comparison.
- The investigators also found that US students felt anxious on a somewhat regular basis.
For more on how stress affects immunity, read: How Stress Creates a Double-Whammy Threat to Your Health.
The Loss of Healthy Inner EcoSystems
In addition to stress and teenage sexual activity, the immunity of young people (and adults) is decreasing.
We can see this in increased numbers of allergies, asthma, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diabetes, obesity and other childhood illnesses.
Starting with the Baby Boomer generation, we saw an increase in environmental toxins, processed foods, chemicals in personal care products and prescription and over-the-counter drug use.
Diet, lifestyle and exposure to environmental toxins all contribute to an imbalance in your inner ecosystem.
Just as the Earth has ecosystems that regulate survival and balance, our bodies have an inner ecosystem - and our inner ecosystem must be healthy if we want to thrive, not just survive.
A healthy human intestinal ecosystem (inner ecosystem) is made up of the friendly microorganisms (microflora) that reside in our intestines and keep us healthy and strong. These microflora work to protect us by digesting our foods, strengthening our immune systems, guarding us from parasites and other pathogens - including viruses.
If your inner ecosystem is out of balance, your immunity is at risk.
Modern Medicine's Answer - Vaccinations
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new vaccine made by Merck & Co. called Gardasil. This vaccine has been approved for young females aged 9 - 26. Currently there is great debate and controversy over whether the vaccine should be made mandatory. Here in the US it is recommended that young girls receive the vaccine before they become sexually active. Four other governments have also approved Gardasil: Canada, New Zealand, Mexico and Australia. Australia has also approved Gardasil for young boys.
In some ways, this new vaccine sounds promising because in trials with 12,000 women, Gardasil was found to be 100% effective against: 2 strains of HPV responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases (high risk HPV strains) and 99% effective against 2 strains that cause genital warts (low risk strains).9Guardasil is also recommended to help prevent anal cancer, caused by HPV 16 and 18, a serious problem in gay men who are infected with HIV.
My concern is that like any new drug or vaccine, we won't know the long-term side affects until the damage is already done and perhaps millions of young women or their future children may suffer needlessly. There are reported adverse effects that include local limited reactions at the site of injection, such as pain and swelling, redness and itching. Other adverse effects including seizures, fevers, joint pain, lack of consciousness and Guillain-Barre syndrome have been filed with the Vaccine Adverse Event Report System.
To date the length of protection of Gardasil is not known beyond a 5-year period. Additionally, there are 30 high risk strains for HPV and this vaccine only addresses 2.
The CDC even warns that females will still need to receive pap smears and be tested for HPV because the timing and dosage could affect its effectiveness. This means that the vaccine may not be useful after all.
And yet, the Gardasil TV commercial (with young teenage actresses) are telling young women that if they get vaccinated, they will be "one less" woman who will not get cervical cancer later in her life. The possibility seems like a certainty. Do we know with certainty that this vaccine will give you or your daughter that kind of long-term protection when the drug companies themselves can't promise this? Nevertheless they seem to be suggesting; "Lets put all young women on it anyway and if we're wrong we'll withdraw the vaccine from the market."
I think what I object to the most is the" fear factor." Fear of possibly contracting this disease has women running to their doctor when in my book fearis not ever a good reason to do anything. Also, if you have watched the Gardasil commercials, you can see that they are clearly targeted at younger women who are very much affected by peer pressure, giving them the impression that getting this vaccine is the "in thing to do."
We must ask ourselves this question: "Are drug companies using peer pressure to fatten their own bank accounts because, in fact, they are the ones who are fearful of losing billions of dollars? Vaccinations have dropped considerably in infants and children because many parents are concerned about autism. Could this be another way for drug companies to compensate for that loss? Are they targeting our young girls who indeed are at risk by being sexually permissive? Educating young women about sexually transmitted disease is certainly wise but is vaccine the only answer?
At Body Ecology we know we have alternatives and solutions to offer all women - better and safer solutions. I feel it is very important for all BEDers to understand this current threat to our children and share the information in this newsletter with anyone you know who will benefit.
Basic BED Premise: Do Not Vaccinate Unless You Have a Strong Immune System
If a woman does chose to vaccinate her daughter, son or herself, then before getting any vaccination, including Gardasil, she should tell her doctor if he or she is not well - especially if there are signs of a fever or an infection. Also any other sign of a weakened immune system or any bleeding disorders should be discussed.
If a woman is pregnant or is planning to become pregnant, she should not be vaccinated. Pregnancy weakens the immune system, putting a woman and her baby at risk. Pregnancy is not always planned and could occur around the time of vaccination.
And who does not have a weakened immune system today? Are we healthy enough to be vaccinated? Over 200 years ago Edward Jenner demonstrated to the world that a vaccine containing the cowpox virus could protect children from the dreaded smallpox disease. I would argue that children were hardier, ate "real" foods grown without chemicals and pesticides, and suffered less stress than the 9 - 26 year old of today. The cowpox virus would have triggered a stronger antibody response to protect them because their immune systems were stronger. Until we begin to eat fermented foods and turn back to real foods grown in healthy soils (rich in microflora, and minerals) we may not be good candidates for vaccinations. At Body Ecology we are offering a healthier way of life that will also help children of all ages and adults improve their immune systems and also manage levels of stress more effectively.
My concern for our children's health elevated even more when I read that Texas Governor Rick Perry had issued an executive order on February 2, 2007 mandating that Gardasil be given to all school girls entering the sixth grade beginning September 2008. With elevated stress levels, poor diets and hormonal imbalances can Governor Perry be certain that the young women in Texas are healthy enough to be vaccinated? By going through an executive order, the Texas Legislature has little recourse for repealing the mandatory vaccine. You might also find it interesting that Gardasil is a patented formula that only Merck can manufacture and Merck contributed to Governor Perry's election campaign..
Natural Answers for Building Immunity
So far mandatory vaccination is not being forced upon most of us, yet, however, many young women will choose to receive this vaccine. But will it be out of informed consent or out of fear or ignorance? Ultimately it's up to each person to decide how to protect themselves or their daughter. Perhaps some will decide the vaccination is the best path for them. In any case, I feel it's important to understand the full picture - the pros and cons - before making a decision that could affect your long term health and that of children born generations from now.
The experts say that the only other way to prevent HPV is abstinence from sex.
However, there is another way to create strong immunity in your body as an additional form of protection. The Body Ecology program is the premier nutritional system for building your inner ecosystem and boosting your immunity against bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
We recommend eating and drinking wonderful, organic real foods grown the old fashioned way in nutrient-rich soil. We also believe strongly in the importance of adding fermented foods and drinks as your first line of defense against disease because these foods and liquids can quickly repopulate your intestines with beneficial bacteria and yeasts. Over 70% of your immune system resides in the enteric nervous system in your gut. The beneficial microflora will also help heal your digestion so you obtain more nutrients from the foods you eat which also improves immunity.
Even though fermented foods and liquids are chewed, swallowed and eventually reach your intestines inoculating them with beneficial microflora, these microflora can and do translocate to other parts of your body including your birth canal. In other word, friendly flora will soon reside in your birth canal protecting you from infections. You will certainly not see commercials on TV suggesting your make cultured vegetables and eat them everyday to prevent diseases like cervical cancer caused by the HPV. But why not?
We would love to see a research study done on women of all ages who ate fermented foods including cultured vegetables versus a control group who did not. Let's see which group is more likely to develop an HPV infection that would escalate to cancer. The chances of the virus becoming high risk and causing an infection that could escalate into cancer is unlikely.
Great options for fermented foods and drinks are:
- Cultured vegetables - have ½ cup with each meal or enjoy them as a delicious, raw fast food snack.
- Young Coconut Kefir - a mineral-rich probiotic (microflora-rich) drink that you can make with young green coconut water.
- CocoBiotic - Body Ecology's answer to bringing you a convenient way to drink fermented young green coconut water without having to hunt for and crack the coconuts. Replace your soda pop with this delicious, healing bubbly beverage.
- Dong Quai - A fermented probiotic liquid that contains the herb Dong Quai, long prized by traditional Chinese medicine for balancing women's hormones and improving complaints associated with menopause and PMS.
Adding fermented foods and following Body Ecology's 7 healthy eating principles can go a long way toward creating long-term health and immunity.
Take your health into your hands! Be sure to read The Body Ecology Diet to learn this premier system ofnatural health and healing.
For many years, we've been relying on medical solutions and forgetting that we hold the power of health and wellbeing in our own hands. As we take more responsibility for our diet and lifestyle habits, we are empowered to experience the energy, vitality and health that we truly desire. This does not mean we turn our backs on medicine, but it does mean that we take the leading role in determining the quality of our lives.
I'd like to go on record that I am not against vaccinations. They have saved billions of lives but make sure you are informed of the front and back of every vaccine. Also be certain your immune system is strong before you are vaccinated.
There is good that comes out of every situation. Thanks to the Gardasil commercials millions of young girls are certainly more aware now of the dangers of promiscuous sex. What we are talking about here is the welfare of future generations. These young girls and women hold the future of mankind in their hands because they will soon be of child bearing age. What will become of their children who pass through a diseased birth canal? What will become of a diseased world? Maybe someday we will thank Merck for producing the Gardasil advertisements on TV because they were the catalyst that ended the "hidden epidemic" - 1 in 4 teens with a sexually transmitted disease.
To learn more about Body Ecology's system of natural health and healing, be sure to read The Body Ecology Diet.
- Stock, Tara L., DO. Cervical Cancer Vaccine Brings Hope for Young Women.
- Human Papillomavirus and Genital Warts. National Institutes of Health.
- Teens, Sex and STDs. Safe and Drug Free Schools Information.
- Lemonick, Michael D. A Teen Twist on Sex. Time Magazine. September 2005.
- Mouth Cancer Foundation. http://www.rdoc.org.uk/hpv.html
- Transformation Zone of the Cervix. WebMD.
- US Teens - One Third Report Major Stress Every Day. Fox News. October 1999.
http://panicdisorder.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=panicdisorder&cdn=health&tm=11&gps=174_147_1276_550&f=10&su=p284.5.420.ip_&tt=2&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.rense.com/health3/teenstress_h.ht 9 Stock, Tara L., Cervical Cancer Vaccine Brings Hope to Young Women.
HPV Vaccine Questions & Answers. Centers for Disease Control.
Want more articles like this?
Sign up to receive weekly articles. You'll also receive a 15% off coupon, weekly articles, and tips from Donna and her team.