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Posts Tagged ‘HPV’

Was Dr. Mary Wood-Allen, the author of my grandmother’s book, able to see into the future?  No, but when she wrote about taking care of the body, I believe she was thinking generationally.  Let’s fast forward to the words of another woman physician.

Miriam Grossman, M.D., also believes that the body deserves respect and care.  That’s because she sees — up close and personally — how complex the human body really is.

Dr. Grossman is a campus psychiatrist who meets with countless young women.  It is the fear, anger, and depression of these young women that motivated her to write the book Unprotected.  This short and politically-incorrect book is a must-read for young women in high school and college.  It is a must-read for young men who hope to someday marry a woman.  It is a must read for parents.

Consider the topic of sexually transmitted diseases, HPV in particular.  HPV (human papilloma virus) often catches young women by surprise.  There is emotional fallout.  Trauma.  What is a girl to do?  Damage control kicks in at student health centers.  Pamphlets explain that “HPV infection is very common . . . almost everyone gets HPV at some time . . . having only a single lifetime partner does not assure protection . . .  anyone who has ever had sexual relations has a high chance of being exposed to this virus . . . most men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives.”

With these “calming” words, observes Dr. Grossman, young women with a serious and possibly life-threatening disease are led to believe that “everyone’s in the same boat,” so “chill out, and welcome to the club.”

But, writes Dr. Grossman, “these reassurances are inaccurate, and do no favor to women: in fact, infection with HPV is completely preventable.  It is not an inevitable consequence of becoming sexually active.  It is not something that will happen sooner or later.  Even if well-intentioned, to imply otherwise is misleading.

“This may not be popular to talk about, but there exists a population of young women and men who do not have to worry about HPV.  Or, for that matter, about herpes, chlamydia, or HIV.  They are safe because they wait, and marry someone else who waited.  Yes, it can be done; people have been known to survive and tell others about it.  Medicine should be studying them, and how they avoid risky behaviors, then applying that knowledge to our reproductive health education campaigns.  Instead, there is an odd approach in sexual health: instead of asking our youth to strive for self-control and smart choices, we assume they’ll make poor choices and have multiple partners including some they hardly know.  Why else would every pamphlet and Web site advise them, ‘First, talk with your partner.’  It’s as if whoever’s composing this material has given up on standards, and expects the behavior of the lowest common denominator.”

Dr. Grossman quotes a doctor who, on an HPV support site, is trying to provide words of comfort.   He put it this way:  “. . . Sex is simply one of the many ways in which humans interact with one another.  All those interactions involve sharing bacteria, viruses, etc.”

“What?” asks Dr. Grossman.  “One of the many ways in which humans interact with one another?  Is that the message we want to give to young people?”

Dr. Miriam Grossman, like Dr. Mary Wood-Allen before her, doesn’t want young women (or men) to be at risk.  She doesn’t settle for risk reduction but presses for risk elimination.  And, lest you missed it, neither of these women physicians of 1898 or 2011 seems to find benefit in tiptoeing around or worrying about “judging.”   If we talk to young people about healthier eating and not smoking, using drugs, or drinking and driving, then shouldn’t we also talk to them honestly about the consequences of sexual bonding outside of faithful and Biblical marriage?

Unprotected is a quick read.  Please toss political correctness to the wind and purchase a copy.

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