Rethinking Healthcare

Will vaccines make sex safer?

Will vaccines make sex safer?

Posting in Healthcare

The antibodies seem effective against three-quarters of the known strains of HIV, and bind to an accessible portion of the virus DNA.

AIDs, HPV, and other sexually-transmitted diseases have been a blessing for social conservatives.

In guarding against these illnesses, social conservatives can also reinforce a message that sex is bad and the 1960s were an evil time.

News alert. Sex is good. The 1960s were a mixed blessing, on balance an advance. And news from the vaccination front shows we may soon put fear in the past, at least for some hippies' grandchildren.

First, Science reports today that new antibodies have been found that protect against AIDS, better known as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The antibodies were found in Africa, where the disease is most prevalent, and could re-start the search for vaccines that ended in failure in 2007.

The big news here is that the antibodies seem effective against three-quarters of the known strains of HIV, and bind to an accessible portion of the virus' DNA. It's 10 times more powerful than any antibody found before.

Vaccines made with the antibodies could thus protect people from many different strains of the disease, slowing the infection rate and giving scientists a chance to destroy it completely.

The other good news involves a vaccine I have covered extensively at ZDNet Healthcare, Merck's Gardasil. Its use on young girls has been highly controversial, but the good news today is it works on boys too. It seems to prevent lesions and persistent infections.

All of which means safer sex for everyone. But you still need a warning, one the hippie couple above, photographed by Nathan Watkins and posted to Flickr, will surely agree with.

Sex is easy. It's love that's hard. And lasting love beats sex in every way I know.

Happy Labor Day and peace out.

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Dana Blankenhorn

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Dana Blankenhorn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age's "NetMarketing" supplement and founded the Interactive Age Daily for CMP Media. He holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern universities. He is based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure