Friday, February 16, 2007

A little too close for comfort

Apparently there has been a bill passed somewhere in the United States making HPV vaccinations mandatory for school age girls. I can't being to communicate my discomfort on the subject. Let me count the ways: we have the sex angle....boys carry hpv too, why is it a solely female responsibility?, the legal far can the legal system colonize my body?, this angle being enmeshed with the slippery slope concern....what are we opening the door to in the future?, and finally, the infringement on childhood....wanting to innoculate children pre-emptively before they become sexually active merely ensures that they are entrenched, very personally, within the subject matter regardless of the time in which it would actually take for this action to be warranted.
As I said, both sexes carry the Human Papilloma Virus. And yet, only girls will be receiving the innoulations. I can only assume that this is because females are the group that suffers the most from HPV, as it is a leading cause of cervical cancer and does not seem to seriously affect any part of the male anatomy. Nonetheless, this is merely an example of the problematic North American attitude of treating the symptoms of a problem instead of treating the root. If this act was truly in the spirit of preventative medicine, innoculations would be distributed universally to prevent its spread entirely and not just to prevent its cancerous result.
I understand the health concern. Cervical cancer is, in fact, Not something that should be taken lightly. However, there are safeguards against this virus that do not impinge on my personal bodily privacy and freedom, pap smears for example. Opponents of the innoculations are concerned that it will condone sexual activity. My concern lies more in the idea that the innoculations will in a sense absolve individuals of their own sexual responsibility. Being sexually active is an important responsibility and having to go in for a yearly personal health exam, which includes HPV screening, helps to keep this responsibility fresh and impactful in the mind. It also plays an important role in a person's sense of bodily ownership. I cannot stress the importance of this enough.
My final point, about actively meddling with childhood and sexual development, is probably the most reviling point of the whole discussion. So gutteral is my reaction that I'm not even convinced that I can make a coherent argument around it. Suffice it to say that I find this whole subject beyond defence.