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the HPV vaccine Gardasil is extraordinarily effective at preventing infection, being at least 99% effective against the four most odious subtypes (6,11,16,18) in young women.
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Yet despite this, it has been the subject of dogged opposition - in the US, vaccination rates have stagnated far below the optimum levels for protection, while a number of legal challenges against the vaccine have been mounted across Europe.
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Broadly speaking, opposition can be separated into two distinct categories, the first of which expresses itself as moral concern. There is a sizeable contingent who find the idea that their children will eventually have normal sexual urges disquieting, with some physicians also voicing opposition on moral grounds. Moral opposition to HPV vaccination is clearest in America, primarily voiced by religious conservatives, whose arguments pivot around sex rather than efficacy, advocating abstinence in lieu of vaccination. A major concern appears to be that without the fear of genital warts or cervical cancer, young people will become more promiscuous, and that the HPV vaccine therefore in effect encourages behaviour they deem immoral.
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