March 2010

Dear Editor,


Unfortunately I can’t keep this under 150 words, because most of it is quoting medical people.  Very few of the words below are mine.


Hilary Butler,

25 Harrisville Road,

Tuakau 2121.




Dear Sir,


On page 2, Monday 9 March, the Press stated “the strains in Gardasil are “believed”  to cause 70 percent of cervical cancers in New Zealand”.


Dr Hazel Lewis, Clinical Leader of the Cervical Screening Programme, sent the Press a letter on 11 February 2009, part of which asked:


How will we know how much benefit is gained from this new vaccination activity if we don't undertake baseline research immediately to identify current HPV prevalence rates?  Establishing this measure is currently under a real threat.


For nearly two years, IMAC’s website: has said: An Auckland study of 513 cervical swabs, mainly from women attending colposcopy clinics, found that 221 specimens (43 percent) were positive for HPV. Twenty-two different types of HPV were detected, and 141 were oncogenic types, representing 14 of the 18 known oncogenic types. Types 16, 18, and 31 were the most common detected, representing 39 percent, 10 and 10 percent of the oncogenic types found, respectively. The other 11 oncogenic HPV types ranged in prevalence from 7.4 to 0.6 percent.


513 colposcopy smear samples; 221 HPV positive. 141 oncogenic.  55  type 16; 14 type 18. From 513 samples, 13.5% (69) were types in Gardasil. 50.5% of the other oncogenic types were NOT in Gardasil.


Apart from this undated, unknown, unpublished non-peer reviewed Auckland study, not in pubmed, there have been no studies defining New Zealand HPV prevalence rates.    Parents are trusting people, looking into crystal balls, with no hard science behind their “beliefs”.




Hilary Butler.