Nobel-prize winner, Dr. Harald zur Hausen, who discovered the link between the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer recently gave a talk to researchers and health specialists in Toronto about the dangers of non-vaccination. He discounted the view that only females need to be vaccinated and stressed the importance of female and male inclusion in HPV vaccination efforts. Even though almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, it also plays a large role in penile and anal cancer, which affects males.
The perception that only females are affected by sexually transmitted diseases and are therefore responsible for prevention, has been prevalent among the general public for decades. The media has attributed to reinforcement and validation of this archaic belief. Condom promotion and AIDS prevention advertisements are largely directed towards young females. This is living proof that patriarchy is alive and well in the 21st century. These beliefs are often at the roots of unequal gender power relations in society and often contribute to adverse consequences, including the degradation of women.
Dr. zur Hausen’s best advice for reducing the spread of HPV is for both males and females to get protected. He added that it would be a show of “gender solidarity.”