lescent medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. “So why should
HPV be different?” Instead, she says,
health-care providers should focus on the
cancer prevention aspect of the vaccine,
rather than on how HPV is spread.
Since the vaccine is just over 10 years
old, it’s too early to know how many cases
of cancer it has prevented. But clinical trials have shown that the vaccine provides
nearly 100 percent protection against cervical infections caused by some strains of
HPV. These infections have fallen by 64
percent among teen girls in the U.S. since
the vaccine was introduced. Clinical trials
of the HPV vaccine have also shown it’s
safe for both boys and girls.
These benefits have led Virginia, Rhode
Island, and Washington, D.C., to adopt
public school mandates for HPV vaccination. But some parents are still uncomfortable about the HPV vaccine’s association
with sex and think their children don’t
need it because they’re not sexually active.
Aimee Gardiner, director of a group
called Rhode Island Against Mandated
HPV Vaccine, says she doesn’t see HPV
as the “epidemic” she thinks the CDC has
made it out to be. “For me, the risk of developing a cancer from any HPV is so insignificantly small that I do not feel like the
vaccine is a necessity,” she says.
It’s true that for most people, the
immune system clears
the virus from their
bodies naturally. But
for a small number of
people, HPV persists
and can turn cancerous. For those patients, like Price, the
result can be a major ordeal, not to mention much more expensive than a vaccine
that costs about $150 per dose.
“I am a huge proponent of it,” she says.
“If you had the chance to prevent cancer
in your son or daughter, why wouldn’t you
do that?” —Emily Mullin
“You can’t have a data set
that includes the whole
—Yibiao Zhao, cofounder of i See, on the
importance of giving self-driving cars a kind of
common sense and the ability to quickly deal with
“It generates really
—Douglas Eck, a research scientist at Google, on
Sketch-RNN, a neural net work that can generate
its own drawings.
“There is no basis for
saying our findings are
—Saswati Chatterjee, scientific founder
of Homology Medicines, on critics of the
company’s claim that it can repair human genes
with viruses, a potential improvement over the
gene-editing tool CRISPR.
BY THE NUMBERS
Distance that a Proterra electric bus traveled on a
single charge—a world record, albeit at 15 mph.
Distance over which a startup called Pi claims
its wireless charger can send power to a mobile
device by inductive charging.
The number of connected devices that ARM
thinks its chips could enable by 2035.
The proportion of people on the planet who still
lack Internet access, according to a UN report.
According to Symantec, the number of cases
across the U.S., Turkey, and S witzerland in which
criminals gained operational access to energy
facilities—in theory, giving them the ability to
remotely turn off devices like circuit breakers.
line around the corner. If we said we have
a vaccine for breast cancer, we’d be vaccinating day and night,” she says.
The problem the vaccine has faced is
its link to a taboo in American culture:
sexual activity among teenagers. About
one in four people in the U.S., including
teens, are currently infected with HPV.
But many health-care providers hesitate
to recommend the vaccine.
State vaccination rates were as high as
73 percent among girls in Rhode Island
and as low as 31 percent in South Carolina
for all three doses in 2016. Among boys,
Wyoming had the lowest rate, with only
20 percent getting the full round of shots.
Overall, teens living in major metropolitan
areas were far more likely to get the vaccine than those living in rural areas.
In some states with low vaccination
rates, the rates of HPV-caused cancers
are the among the highest. In Mississippi,
only about 34 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys get all required doses of the
vaccine. The state also has one of the highest rates of HPV-related cervical cancer in
the country. Wyoming tells a similar story,
with high rates of HPV-associated cancers
in both men and women.
HPV vaccination for boys is especially
lagging in some areas. Paskett, who has
studied cancer in Appalachia, say there’s
a perception that HPV only causes cancers in women. “A lot
of parents don’t know
that boys should be vaccinated,” she says.
A 2015 study found
that a quarter of the 776
pediatricians and family physicians surveyed do not strongly endorse the HPV
vaccine. A third of the doctors said that
having to talk about a sexually transmitted infection makes them uncomfortable.
“We don’t usually explain to patients
how they get hepatitis or meningitis,” says
Nneka Holder, associate professor of ado-
“We don’t usually explain
to patients how they get
hepatitis or meningitis.”