The Catholic Church in Scotland has voiced its concern for a new vaccine designed to eradicate cervical cancer, warning that it may encourage young girls to have sexual relationships, reports Scotland on Sunday.
|TOP|Gardasil has been trialled over the last two years on 360 women between the ages of 16 and 23 from Glasgow, the city chosen specifically because of the city’s high levels of underage sex and related sexual health problems.
The drug is the first to provide protection against the cancer and works by giving women immunity to different types of sexually transmitted viruses that cause around 70 per cent of cervical cancers.
“So far the vaccine has been 100 per cent effective,” said Dr Gordon Crawford of Glasgow-based CPS Research, the group behind the trial. “We haven’t seen anyone given the vaccine test positive for pre-cancerous cells.
“This trial was part of a much bigger worldwide study looking at the effectiveness of the vaccine, and our results have been reflected elsewhere.”
|AD|The drug has come up against fierce opposition because of the advice of the manufacturers who claim its effectiveness is greatly increased if given to patients before they are sexually active and so should therefore be prescribed to girls as young as 10.
The Catholic Church, however, has warned that the new drug may make children believe that sex is now safer, thereby encouraging them to have underage sex.
A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “To mass-vaccinate all 10 – 15 year-old girls has the potential to send out the wrong signals.”
The Catholic Church also highlighted that the vaccine does not prevent women and girls engaging in unprotected sexual activity from the risks caused by exposure to a number of sexually transmitted disease.
“There are other sexually transmitted diseases besides HPV (Human Papillomavirus) that can be spread by casual sex, and by eliminating one element of risk it might act as a green light for promiscuous behaviour,” said the Catholic Church spokesman.
The trial will continue for another two years, with the same women to be regularly tested by researchers to confirm the effectiveness of the drug against the disease.
Catholic Church Warns New Vaccine May Increase Underage Sex
The Catholic Church in Scotland warns that Gardasil, the new vaccine against cervical cancer currently being tested on 360 Glasgow women, may encourage young girls to have underage sex.
Published 23 November 2005