There was some big news last week, that believe it or not, did not involve delusional, myopic, hypocritical bloggers on the internet.
… the careHPV test makes HPV DNA testing simple, effective and affordable for women in low-resource settings. The careHPV Test can be performed by a healthcare worker in a community facility without mains electricity or running water and offers HPV detection results in a matter of hours – a critical characteristic for women traveling long distances to clinics and for those women who can benefit from treatment during the same visit.
This is AWESOME!
The key to treating cervical cancer is early detection. 288,000 women die of cervical cancer every year, with ~80% of those deaths occurring in the Third World. Now we have a cheap early screening method that will be usable in these exact places! YAY!! … But the question everyone is asking is, “So you detect it early. Then what?” Sure, weve got great treatment options here in the US for women who get ‘abnormal’ pap smears, but what, exactly are the options in the third world?
HPV researchers are in the same boat as us HIV-1 researchers. Great! We get a cheap, fast, easy HIV-1 test!… but we dont have enough anti-retrovirals for everyone who needs them after we diagnose them.
The trick to stopping HIV-1 is to stop new infections. Thats why Im trying to make an HIV-1 vaccine.
The trick to stopping cervical cancer is to stop new infections. HPV researchers have a kick ass vaccine. But Gardasil is even expensive here in the US— About $120 for each of three shots. There is no way in hell an average family in Zambia can afford these shots for their daughter, even if they know these shots could one day save their daughters life.
But here in the US (and other ‘rich’ parts of the world), you cant spit without hitting someone anti-HPV vaccine. Age of Autism is in on it, for some reason. Here is a sad case of post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Which would be more sad if they werent exporting their views to the third world. And of course, there are all the right-wing groups against HPV vaccines, because their daughters aint no whores.
All of this without a thought for the hundreds of thousands of women around the world, dying of a preventable disease. Without any recognition that because of where they were born, and circumstances of that chance event, they have the luxury of saying ‘OH NO HPV VACCINE FOR ME MATER! IM OFF TO PLAY THE GRAND PIANO! PAHDON ME WHILE I FLY MY AERO-PLANE!’ No frigging clue how much those three shots mean to someone else. They cannot comprehend the emotions of someone else– Knowing something exists that could save your or a loved ones life, something you can never have unless some company takes pity on you… while someone else is throwing it away.
Only in America, baby…