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May 18, 2007

Senate Bill 660: Providing Information Concerning HPV and Cervical Cancer

Author:
Senators Mike Fasano and James E. “Jim” King Jr.

Summary:
Requires public and private middle schools in state to provide to certain students and their parents or guardians information about HPV, the HPV vaccine, and cervical cancer.

Status:

1/18/2007(Senate) Filed
2/8/2007(Senate) Referred to Education Pre-K-12; Health Policy; Education Pre-K-12 Appropriations
3/6/2007(Senate) Introduced, referred to Education Pre-K-12; Health Policy; Education Pre-K-12 Appropriations-SJ 00043
4/25/2007(Senate) Now in Education Pre-K - 12 Appropriations
5/4/2007(Senate) Died in Committee on Education Pre-K - 12 Appropriations

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA is opposed to this bill.

Action Requested:
None requested at this time.

Background:
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of viruses that have about 100 different strains or types. Over 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted. While most HPV infections are dealt with by the body’s immune system and no symptoms occur, there are several types that can cause cervical cancer or genital warts. For more information about HPV see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s online information.

Those who are most likely to get HPV are those who have sex at an early age, have many sex partners, or have a sex partner who has had many partners.

However, the only FDA approved HPV vaccine, Gardasil, is not a cure for HPV or cervical cancer. Instead the vaccine seeks to prevent the four specific types of HPV (6, 11, 16, and 18) which are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. There is currently no cure for these sexually transmitted viruses. Even the FDA and the CDE admit the only “cure” is abstinence before marriage and a monogamous relationship during marriage.

There have been no long-term studies of the HPV vaccine. Children in the 9-year-old age group have been monitored for only 18 months and there have been no studies on the carcinogenic risk or the general toxicity of the vaccine itself. From July 2006 to the end of 2006, there were 385 unique reports of adverse events filed with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) following the receipt of the vaccine. Visit the National Vaccine Information Center for a full review of these reports.

Additionally, there is some concern that rushing to mandate the HPV vaccine for pre-teen girls will not have the intended affect of preventing cervical cancer. Early immunization may not be effective because the vaccine could wear off before the person is most susceptible. Gardasil has only been proven to have five years of proven effectiveness. While there appears to be a 10-to-15-year incubation period for certain HPV types potentially becoming cervical cancer, the average age a woman contracts cervical cancer is in her mid 40s. For more information read the Washington Times article, “Cancer-virus Vaccine Targets Wrong Age Group.”.

Over the past few months, Merck, the pharmaceutical manufacturer of Gardasil, has lobbied vigorously to mandate the HPV vaccine for middle school age girls. At present there are over 34 states where HPV bills have been introduced. Several state legislatures have defeated such proposed legislation.

Due to all of the concerns raised about mandating the Gardasil vaccine to middle school age girls Merck has abandoned its efforts to lobby state legislatures to require the vaccine.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History