The vaccine debates have been going on for a long time–as long as vaccines, in fact. Of recent interest is the question of whether everyone should receive protection against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The argument made by some opponents centers around the fact that HPV is often transmitted by sexual activity, so if a person is chaste in all things, what’s to worry? In other words, if you’re a “good girl,” you won’t get the virus, the argument goes.
First off, HPV can be transmitted through means other than sexual intercourse. The virus can be detected in blood and transmitted in the same. Opposition to vaccination against HPV presumes that those “good girls” won’t need a blood transfusion or won’t ever work in professions in which they might come into contact with blood.
More than that, what if a “good girl” comes into sexual contact with someone who is infected? What if she gets raped? What if she marries someone who has the virus without knowing it or hides his past activities from her?
And consider the value of removing a disease from the human condition. We’ve eliminated smallpox, except for small stocks held by the United States and Russia, and we’re on the way to getting rid of polio. Eliminating a virus that causes disease makes the world better for us. This would reduce human suffering, something that the Chrisitan religion claims to seek to do.
In this, I’ve taken “good girl” without question. I see sexual action among consenting adults in a different light from how fundamentalists view it, but in this article, I’m going with that way of thinking–for the moment–to illustrate a point. A lot of good can be done if true believers in many different ideologies will work together. Rather than seeing the HPV vaccine as being only for those who are sexually promiscuous, it’s better to regard it as something that offers protection and general benefit to everyone, the righteous and unrighteous upon whom rain and viruses may fall.