Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge

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Monday, December 18, 2006

HPV and Cancer

Ok, boys. I'm going to write about something that might make you a little uncomfortable, but you need to know this so that you can help the women know the facts.

I am so mad every time I hear all of the ads that have been on the radio and TV lately about HPV (Human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. Why?? Because the ads have never stated that HPV IS AN STD.

That's right. HPV is a sexually transimitted disease. How do you NOT get HPV, which can easily lead to cervical cancer? DON'T HAVE SEX! But no, that's not what the ads say.

The ads keep talking about how we have to get the info out, how we have to tell the ones we love, our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, our friends. How 'bout we tell each other that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease which can lead to cervical cancer that could lead to death? Really? Was it worth it?

From the American Social Health Association:
About 14,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year.

Over 5,000 women each year die of cervical cancer in the United States.

About 20 million Americans are infected with HPV. It is expected that 5.5 million will contract it through sexual contact each year. That makes HPV the most common STD in the world.


From the Center for Disease Control:
Approximately 20 million people are currently infected with HPV. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.


I will concede that while there are over a hundred types of HPV and not all of them mutate into cervical cancer and not every woman who has HPV will get cancer, consider this:


For 2004, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 10,520 women will develop invasive cervical cancer and about 3,900 women will die from this disease. Most women who develop invasive cervical cancer have not had regular cervical cancer screening. (from the CDC).


Part of our work, no doubt, is to educate the youth on moral behaviors and why God asks what he does from us. It is my humble opinion that we need to not just tell kids to say no, but why saying yes to chastity is about our own respect and respecting others. That it's about using ourselves in every way for God, not for our own passions or to feed others'.


But back to the post: There seems to be a whole lot of advertising about this and again, no mention, whatsoever about HPV being an STD. It comes across like "oh, you got a cold?" when in reality it's "Oh, you had sex, you contracted an STD, oh, and by the way, it's HPV which may turn into cervical cancer. Which is not good. Which could kill you." And the kids don't go online to find out the truth. They just hear or see the ads. That's all that they are gonna get unless we come up with something much better.


Methinks the backers of these ads are more like the Planned Parenthood types. They don't really want to stop teen sex. That'd blow their whole operation. No, just barely give them the information, treat them like hormonal animals, throw a buncha condoms at them as say Good Luck!



We can do so much better for them. And we have to.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Turk said...

Thanks for the information. Very helpful.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Maybe it's just me, but why isn't the Catholic Church in the US doing a gigantic, creative television ad campaign on sex? Is it that they can't find shows that will allow them to run ads? I mean, we always hear these huge numbers when anyone talks about how many Catholics there are in the US. You would think that among these millions of members we could come up with some of the most creative minds available to come up with effective ads. No offense to some people, but I'm not talking about an ad where someone who looks like an older librarian tells us that "sex is a beautiful gift from God that must be respected and cherished." Yes, that's true, but teens don't respond to old people telling them sex is off limits.

And although STDs are important to talk about, I think, in a way, they are a cop out. It's almost like we're saying "darn, we can't get them to listen to the truth about sex, so let's see if we can't scare them away from sex." I know education about STDs is important, but it gives the subtle message that if it weren't for STDs, pre-marital sex would be ok. I think it's much stronger to give them the truth about sex. The disease part is a secondary argument that should remain that.

So, I'm thinking why couldn't we get some of the cooler, young, famous Catholics (athletes, actors, etc) of the world to do ads that we pepper the airwaves with.

I'm just throwing this out there off the top of my head, but maybe an ad campaign called "ONE." Different young Catholic celebrities deliver the following lines one after the other, fading from one to the next. And I would ask U2 for permission to play their song One (without lyrics) in the background . . .

One.

One God.

One Life.

One Man.

One Woman.

One Marriage.

One Union.

One Family.

One.

When it comes to sex, if you think more partners is better, you're missing the point.

It's a gift to be shared with only one.

"That's crazy. How'm I gonna limit myself to just one?!"

One God. He will guide you.

One Life. You don't want to mess it up. You want God's best.

One Man. I'm waiting for the woman God is preparing for me.

One Woman. I'm waiting for the man God is preparing for me.

One Marriage. To have and to hold from this day forward, til death do us part.

One Union. And the two shall become one body. Sex as God intended it.

One Family. Caring for one another and building a home filled with love.

One.

Don't give in to the hype and peer pressure.

Don't let anyone else make this decision for you.

It's too important.

One.

OK, so it needs some work . . . ok, maybe a lot of work, but you get my point. We (the Church) are not using modern media to get our message across. Hoping that mom and dad says something to their son or daughter is NOT working. We need to get creative, and we need to spend some money to get it on the air.

9:08 PM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

Tim,
You are dead on.

Starting with the heart of the matter is priority. That is, yes, std's are secondary. Really, if people knew and were living the truth about sex std's would barely be a blip on the radar. I went for a specific problem with the big picture.

Which is, as you pointed out, telling the kids about God's plan for sex. AND doing it in a way that they'll hear.

I love your idea.

When are you gonna start??
(PS U2 already has a "ONE" campaign. But it's a great start. ) You are definately on the right track.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

yeah, the more I chewed on this, the more I thought we could come up with our own music. (tell Bob Rice to get on it :) ) For crying out loud, we have so many gifted people in the Church, coming up with something strong and creative for public consumption should be a piece of cake. Maybe I'm living in a dream world thinking we could get an effective ad campaign on mainstream television. I always thought you could get almost anything on the air if you paid enough money. If that's the major stumbling block, it's worth the cost, and we should put our money where our faith is.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous another MI youth minister said...

I agree that we need our message out where theirs is..on television. But, I think it'll be rough. I don't know what it will take, but I'm all for it. I agree that young and Catholic celebrities would be most effective. I hope this evolves into something. Tim, maybe if you get it worked out we could all spread the word and collect the money to put it on the air.

1:28 AM  
Blogger Turk said...

Grassroots has done two powerful videos. The latest one, I have seen, can be found at www.Bettnet.com. They aslo did Fishers of Men for the USCCB.

Tim I think you have a great idea.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The vaccine isn't even going to prevent all strains of HPV which cause cancer. So the best defense after chastity is a regular pap smear which is not dangerous or harmful to a woman. Even with a vaccination , a woman would need regular pap smears to catch the onset of cancer. This is the current practice and it will remain so even with or without vaccination.
The vaccination contains 657 mg of aluminum adjuvants. Is this a good idea to inject young girls with that? Recent ongoing research shows an association with Parkinson's -like tremors. Now what is the point of trying to avoid pesticides, chemicals, breathing polluted air, eating organic, if one is injected with this?

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really think that you guys need to open your eyes. People are always going to have sex. It doesn't matter if the church preaches against it, or if God sees it as sinful or if you have "celebrity" Catholics campaigning against it, everyone has different beliefs, sex is going to happen, and so will STDs. Once you understand this, maybe you would be able to show some more compassion towards those who unfortunately have to cope with these diseases, and who are dieing because of them. Nearly 80 percent of cervical cancer cases occur in developing countries and, in many regions, it is the most common cancer and cause of death from cancer among women (The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization). In year 2000, 35 220 women in Africa died of cervical cancer, which is largely caused by HPV (GLOBOCAN 2000). As a Catholic working in the healthcare system, I urge you to take a closer look at this issue and see the enormous amount of lives and livelihoods that could be saved through HPV vaccines.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that I am dissatisfied with the fact that you are saying that young girls should not get vaccinated and "guys" should not worry about it as long as they don't have sex. Our youth, unfortunately, are going to have sex...because so many are not religious these days. I am turning 30 this year. I got it from the man i had a ring from and thought that i was marrying. So many of our young ones these days not only don't know about it, but trust the one they love. Even if they wait for sexual relations until they get married, who knows if that "trustworthy" person was actually trustworthy and true. Unfortunately, there are a lot of women that get raped...who's going to make sure they are covered in that time of need when it comes to STD's. When i got HPV it was rare, and I was honest and careful, but there are people out there who don't care or are too shamefull or scared to tell their loved ones. I just believe that it's a good idea to not only preach abstinance, but also protection.

12:07 PM  
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3:56 PM  
Blogger Nancy Kathlene said...

Mine had been doorment for years and was triggered by a high exposure to mold. It might be worth checking into. Do some research on it as well. Best of luck to you all! warts genital

6:07 AM  

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