Canadian acupuncturist: “Cervical cancer is for prostitutes”

Our allies at Skeptic North cover a Canadian acupuncturist who claims that cervical cancer is a disease for prostitutes and promiscuous women.

My research about cervical cancer at the time told me it was very rare and that it occurred most often in women who had multiple sexual partners, who also had multiple sexual partners. In other words, the nurse said, it’s mainly a disease of prostitutes.
Well, I said, “That’s not me!”

Although my gut instinct was horror that she would imply that women with cervical cancer are prostitutes or they deserve their illness, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was simply recounting what this extraordinarily judgmental nurse had told her. Maybe she wasn’t actually implying that only whores** get cervical cancer as some sort of retribution for their immoral behaviour. (Though in my head I couldn’t help wonder if she also feels that AIDS is a “gay disease.”)

Or maybe she totally was. I watched her accompanying video, which basically repeats the information on the website for those of us too lazy to read.

So immediately I fell into research. And what I found out is that there’s a very specific profile of a person with cervical cancer. That person usually has many sexual partners. She’s very promiscuous. And her partners, in turn, also have very many different partners. What is really came down to was a description of a prostitute. And I knew that wasn’t me.

The human papilloma virus, HPV, is transmitted through sexual contact, it’s true. However, it is not transmitted solely to prostitutes or promiscuous women. Anyone telling you otherwise is trying to shame you for having sex. Period. It’s trying to turn a disease into a moral issue, using the existence of a sexually transmitted virus as a way to excoriate normal folks for having sex.

Let’s be perfectly clear. The only folks who have any sort of problem with people having consentual sex with other like-minded individuals are those who believe there’s some deity or another who has proscribed against having sex for pleasure. This sort of reprogramming, of telling people that their natural drives are evil or inherently wrong or what have you, is exactly the sort of mentality that leads unqualified speculations by unqualified pretenders to knowledge like this acupuncturist telling people who have HPV that they deserve their fates.

You all know someone who has HPV and survived cervical cancer. And fuck you very much if you think that makes that person bad in any way.

Canadian acupuncturist: “Cervical cancer is for prostitutes”
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12 thoughts on “Canadian acupuncturist: “Cervical cancer is for prostitutes”

  1. ema

    I’m in a bit of a hurry, so just a quick, but relevant, copy and paste from my blog:

    — Estimated 75% of the population (sexually active men/women) exposed to this very common virus at some point during their lives. Overall:

    – 1% (1.4 million) have genital warts.

    – 4% (5 million) have subclinical disease (evidence of HPV manifestations that are not visible to the naked eye, but could be detected with colposcopic magnification. These subclinical manifestations are most important on the cervix, but may be found anywhere on the lower genital tract. Many of these individuals will have an abnormal Pap smear.)

    – 10% (14 million) are HPV positive (on colposcopy there is no evidence of disease.)

    – 60% (81 million) have been exposed to HPV (A reliable HPV antibody test is likely to be positive, but a direct test for the virus would be negative, indicating that there had been an infection in the past, but the patient developed an immune response and suppressed the virus.)

    So, 75% of the population is exposed to HPV. Once infected, most people’s immune system, and/or treatment keep the infection in check. The majority of people with the disease do not progress to cervical cancer. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict how any one individual will react to being infected with HPV.

  2. 4

    I would dispute your claim that the only people who are opposed to consenting adults fucking for fun are the religious. I’ve encountered plenty of secular and atheist slut-shamers, unfortunately.

  3. 5

    I fought and won the battle with cervical cancer and I know for a fact that I am not a prostitute. How ignorant can people be to believe that crap?

  4. 7

    Ever since AIDS came on the scene and the rise of Needle Exchanges and clinics handing out free condoms, prostitutes have become among the least likely to catch STD’s.

    (OK – small Canadian city – but AIDS is scary shit. Even street dwelling drug addicts use condoms and clean rigs. I do volunteer work off and on, and I meet most of them.)

    @Mona. I am glad you won the fight. It makes no matter to me how many adults you have sex with or the circumstances as long as everyone is consensual. No one deserves to be stigmatized or othered because of a disease.

  5. 8

    I’d also like to object to the implicit shaming of sex workers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a prostitute (as long as everyone involved is involved consensually, or as consensually as a market economy that capitalizes all human behavior allows – of course, I call forced prostitution “sexual slavery” to distinguish).

  6. 9

    To me this just seems to be yet another example of the harmful effects of believing in the concept of ‘sin’.

    To commit a sin is a bad thing but can be forgiven (even though the earthly consequences may be devastating).

    Taking precautions or preventative action like vaccination or contraception or educating about safe sexual practice equates to committing premeditated sin in the minds of many believers and that is many times worse than simply failing to follow the rules.

  7. 10

    If I remember my family history correctly, I think my great grandmother died of cervical cancer. So, hey, that’s someone’s mom/grandma you are talking about!

  8. 12

    I write a leave a response whenever I appreciate a article on a website or if I have something to valuable to contribute to the conversation. It’s a result of the fire communicated in the article I read. And after this article Canadian acupuncturist: “Cervical cancer is for prostitutes” | Lousy Canuck. I was excited enough to leave a commenta response 🙂 I actually do have a few questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or do a few of the responses come across as if they are coming from brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are posting at other online sites, I would like to follow you. Would you list all of all your communal sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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