[SaneVax: Dr. Christiane Northrup has 25 years experience as an OB/GYN doctor. What is her opinion on the value of Gardasil and Cervarix? What is the true risk of being ‘infected’ with HPV? Her recent article on HPV vaccines sums it up quite nicely when she states:
“Let me put the HPV/cervical cancer risk in perspective. According to the CDC, there are 9,710 new diagnoses of cervical cancer in the U.S. per year and 3,700 deaths, on average. Of these, about 70 percent are related to HPV. I say “related” because when a person’s natural immunity fails to clear HPV from the system, there is an immune problem, not an HPV problem.”
Read Dr. Northrup’s assessment of HPV vaccine value below.]
The HPV Vaccine: What You Need to Know Today
By Christiane Northrup, MD
Questions about HPV and whether getting the HPV vaccine will protect you and your children from getting cervical, throat, and other cancers are on the forefront of many people’s minds. The added interest is due in part to Michael Douglas’s announcement that his throat cancer was caused by the HPV virus, which he contracted while having oral sex. (More on this in a minute.) It is also August, and in the U.S., parents have to ensure that their children’s vaccines are up-to-date, because without them the children will be barred from attending school in the coming year. The fear and hysteria—and paperwork—around this issue make me doubt whether our society will ever be able to see the HPV vaccine issue objectively.
So let’s start with an important and irrefutable fact. The HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix do not prevent cervical cancer or any other type of cancer. They may protect you from contracting some strains of HPV for a period of time. Gardasil is genetically engineered to target the four most common strains of HPV known to be associated with cervical cancer, although there are 14 strains that are also implicated. (There are actually over 100 known HPV strains.) Cervarix targets fewer cervical-cancer-causing strains, but seems to offer better protection from genital warts than Gardasil.
Both vaccines also protect against anal and penile lesions to some extent, which is one reason why HPV vaccines are being heavily marketed to boys and young men. But even a recent, highly-touted study that suggests that the rate of HPV lesions has decreased because of the vaccine is seriously flawed. The study included girls who had never had sex and also girls who had not been vaccinated!1
I am not a fan of vaccines, and have been particularly cautious about the HPV vaccines. I’ve written extensively about the fatal and debilitating side effects of Gardasil (and provide some recent data below). And since their approval in 2006, nothing has convinced me that the benefits of the HPV vaccine outweigh the risks—which are significant.2
And now I’m troubled by another aspect. Did you know that women require a booster shot every five years for Gardasil and every seven years for Cervarix? Or that no one seems to know whether the HPV vaccines provide coverage to males for more than two years? Yet, the pharmaceutical companies along with the mainstream medical community tout these vaccines as if they provide long-term protection.