Monday, June 02, 2008

Missing crucial information.

Many things about advertising anger me. I dislike diet pill ads where the before and after pictures are the same one, but the guy is just standing up really straight, I hate commercials for late night chat lines that show idiotic, giggling girls who would never be at home on a Saturday as they'd be out getting drunk with her friends from the nail salon, I loathe daytime ads for things like the toxin removing foot pads that were proven to only turn brown because of foot sweat and apparently smell like poo and that damn screaming guy who sells everything from kitchen cleaner to garden tools can die in a fiery crash. However, the one that makes me the angriest is the ad for the cervical cancer vaccine. While it is an excellent product and I would love for every girl to get vaccinated, the ads are hugely misleading. They state that the vaccine doesn't prevent all kinds of cervical cancer or other types of HPV diseases and that those vaccinated should continue to get annual checkups. All fine, you would think, but HPV is a sexually-transmitted infection and the risk of contracting it can be cut hugely buy advocating condom use. But, do you think the word sex is anywhere in the ad? Do the vaccine's manufacturers say that safe sex practices should be taught to avoid the risk of contracting the disease? No. And why? Because we're a country of puritanical hypocrites who alternatively vilify and glorify sex. All we want is sex until we're in our 30s and then all we want to do is stop everyone else from having it. And it would be unimaginable to talk about it rationally instead of treating it as an embarrassing, shameful act, but then turn and behave as though that act drives our every decision. I wonder what a difference it would make in the choices of younger people if they were given a realistic idea of sex and the consequences of it, instead of being deliberately kept ignorant by parents too afraid to admit that their child has grown up, too indifferent to care or too permissive to try and place responsibility on their children's shoulders.

The last time I was at the gynecologist's office, I picked up the brochure for the vaccine to see if any information about transmission and prevention was included, and it was not. And I'm really pissed.


Jack said...

From everything that I've read, condoms don't help to stop the spread of HPV.

snusnu said...

Yes, they do, 60-80% of the time. If there is a lesion that is not covered by the condom, then no, but a large percentage of lesions are on the genitalia. A study just published last year in Obstetrics and Gynecology, one of the two seminal journals for the specialty, found that condom use was the best strategy to decrease the transmission of the disease.