(NaturalNews) You've no doubt heard scores of stories about how organizations, businesses, research facilities and learning institutions abuse free money, spending it on bizarre pet projects.
Add the University of Florida to that list.
The home of the Gators says it wants to use a $150,000 grant from the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine to increase the vaccination rate of the human papillomavirus among young girls.
What is human papillomavirus? It is a virus that is responsible for a rapidly growing type of oral cancer, and is most often sexually transmitted. It is also the same virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer.
Free to women on Medicaid and the state's equivalent for younger females, Florida KidCare, the university wants to use your tax money to vaccinate girls (nothing was said about vaccinating young men) against genital and oral complications tied to HPV. What's odd about that is that recent studies show men are three times more likely than women to develop oral HPV.
"By 2020, there will be more HPV-positive oral cancers among men than cervical cancers among women in the U.S., and right now we don't even have a way to screen for them," says Maura L. Gillison, MD, PhD, of Ohio State University, according to a study she led published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But, she notes, "Our data provides evidence that oral HPV infection is predominantly sexually transmitted."
Think reckless self-gratification.
According to local media reports, the university's Dr. Stephanie Staras, assistant professor in the college's department of health outcomes and policy, who is serving as the principle investigator for the project, said it will focus on reaching young women to increase their awareness about the vaccine - the only one that has been developed to protect against cancer - and perhaps prompt more health care providers to recommend the vaccine.
Staras said the vaccination rate among the general population rate of adolescent girls in Florida is about 42 percent. The goal of the program is not to, say, teach girls how to protect themselves from getting the virus in the first place (abstinence?) but rather give them a way to continue to expose themselves to contracting HPV.
"In Florida, girls enrolled in Medicaid are about half as likely as the general population to protect themselves from cervical cancer by getting the HPV vaccine," she said. "We aim to decrease the vaccine inequalities."
But not through preventative education.
Nationally, about seven percent of adults are infected with oral HPV, the most prevalent of which is HPV-16, the same sexually transmitted strain associated with a high percentage of cervical cancers.
Government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, follow the same kind of strategy that the University of Floridawants to follow: Assume everyone's going to be sexually active and provide them with a Big Pharma solution. The CDC, for example, recommends girls and boys get a three-shot series of one of the vaccines at age 11 or 12 (before they become "sexually active").
Staras gushed about the program and can't wait to spread the word.
"It's a unique opportunity. Vaccination is rarely brought up during sick child visits. They're thinking about their twisted ankle," she told the Gainesville Sun.
Not everyone is so pleased by the program. Some health care professionals, for example, see the obvious.
Dr. Joseph Zanga, chief of pediatrics at the Medical Center in Columbus, Ga., agrees HPV vaccines can be life-saving. But he says the disease is entirely preventable - by virtue of choice.
"This is the only vaccine that protects you against something you could prevent yourself," he said. "I've had adolescents as patients who get the vaccine and think they don't need to use protection during sexual intercourse. They don't seem to get it."