“Stupid about STDs” update

On Monday, I mentioned a survey MSNBC and Zogby conducted regarding attitudes about sex and STDs. Today on MSNBC, they have another article on the rise of STDs in America, highlighting some depressing trends. Meanwhile, in what you’d think would be across-the-board good news, a vaccine has been tested against 2 types of human papilloma virus (HPV), an STD which is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Despite having a 100% effectiveness in preventing infection with these viruses (which together cause ~70% of all cervical cancers), there is organized resistance to the vaccine, on the grounds that it will increase promiscuity:

“Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV,” says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian lobby group that has made much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV.

“Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex,” Maher claims, though it is arguable how many young women have even heard of the virus.

I’d say that attitudes like this in the 21st century are unbelievable, but having spent way too much time discussing biology with creationists, I’m well aware they’re all too common. Tragic.