Congress to Investigate HPV
Family Policy Facts - January 2, 2004
A U.S. House Subcommittee wants to know why two federal agencies have failed to comply with a law instructing them to educate the public about the human papillomavirus (HPV), the widespread sexually transmitted disease that is the leading cause of cervical cancer worldwide. Rep. Mark Souder (R-Indiana), who chairs the U.S. House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, has asked officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to testify at a hearing scheduled for January 28. At issue is Public Law 106-554, which was signed by President Clinton in 2000 and instructed the CDC to publish a report on HPV prevention by December 21, 2003. The law also ordered the FDA to re-examine condom labels to ensure that they are medically accurate regarding their limited effectiveness to prevent the spread of several STDs, including HPV. According to Rep. Souder, neither agency has complied with the law, The CDC and FDA are today in violation of federal law, and the health of thousands of women is at risk as a result. Rep. Souder continued, We are deeply concerned whenever a federal agency fails to abide by the law, but especially so when the public's health is threatened. HPV poses a serious health risk because of its prevalence and its potential to cause cervical cancer. While approximately 75 percent of sexually active individuals will become infected with HPV in their lifetime, surveys have shown that the majority of Americans have never heard of the disease. HPV has no visible symptoms, and condoms have been found to offer little to no protection because the STD is spread through skin-to-skin contact. In fact, a 2001 report from the National Institutes of Health concluded that, there was no epidemiological evidence that condom use reduced the risk of HPV infection. A CDC spokesperson reportedly told the Washington Times that the CDC is working on a report on HPV to be published this January, and that the FDA is evaluating the issue of condom labeling.
Copyright © 2004. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.