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Gardasil: Selling out our children

MagazineApril 2009 (Vol. 20 Issue 1)Gardasil: Selling out our children

Besides Katy Perry's song I Kissed a Girl, 13-year-old American girls now have

Besides Katy Perry's song I Kissed a Girl, 13-year-old American girls now havea new anthem. It's the ungrammatical "I want to be one less", and there are commercials all over American television showing preteens writing 'one less' on their gym shoes, appliqu'eing it onto their hoodies and even chanting it like a mantra in time to jumping rope-"One less, one less, one less!"

'One less' refers to the one less young woman who will have to battle cervical cancer, and it is the drug industry's first direct-to-teenager advertising campaign launched to sell Gardasil, the first vaccine purporting to prevent cervical cancer.

In the US, where Gardasil has been available for the past 18 months, 41 of the 50 American states have now introduced legislation concerning cervical cancer and the human pap-illomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and 24 states are attempting to enact laws to make having the vaccine a pre-requisite for starting school among preteenagers. New reports show that, so far, one in four teens has received the new vaccine.

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