HPV Rates Cut in Half Since Introduction of Teen-Onset-Retardation Vaccine

I shamelessly stole that headline from Will Franklin, whose Twitter feed you should be following:


The story, which Gov. Rick Perry is probably reading with a smile and Rep. Michele Bachmann will not read at all.

The prevalence of dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and a principal cause of cervical cancer — has dropped by half among teenage girls in recent years, a striking measure of success for a vaccine against the virus that was introduced only in 2006, federal health officials said on Wednesday.


The magnitude of the decline in HPV infections surprised public health experts because only about a third of teenage girls in the United States have been vaccinated with the full course of three doses. By comparison, vaccination rates in countries like Denmark and Britain are above 80 percent. Even Rwanda, in East Africa, has reached 80 percent.

Yet even with relatively low vaccination rates in the United States, infection with the viral strains that cause cancer dropped to 3.6 percent among girls ages 14 to 19 in 2010, from 7.2 percent in 2006, the officials said.

But you know, some woman allegedly told a partisan in a hotly contested presidential primary that the vaccine baked her daughter's brain. So there's that.

If I seem jaded about this, it's because that was one of the dumbest episodes in human history. Republicans were vying to challenge the most paranoid, secretive and surveillance-happy president in US history. We had the chance to unify and watch our flag ascend, as Muse might say. Instead of focusing on that, some partisans leapt to the ramparts, ready to slit throats and right wrongs, with a blood-curdling rallying cry on their lips:

"Remember Gardasil!"

That's not the ultimate reason that the primary turned out the way it did, but it is among the reasons we can't have a nice country anymore. And may not again in our lifetimes.