Jerry Brown signs new addition into medical law

by Kyla Cook | News Editor|

Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am not a fan of Gov. Jerry Brown.
However, I am an advocate of health, and after living with a biology major for four years, I find that medicine is the best medicine.

On Oct. 9, Brown signed into law, an addition to an existing law (Section 6296 of the family code) that allows “a minor of 12 years of age or older and who may have come into contact with an infectious, contagious, or communicable disease to consent to medical care related to the diagnosis or treatment of the disease, if the disease or condition is one that is required by law or regulation adopted pursuant to law to be reported to the local health officer, or is a related sexually transmitted disease, as may be determined by the State Director of Health Services (now the State Public Health Officer).”

The addition, AB 499, allows a minor, also as young as 12 years of age, to consent to medical care related to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease, without parental consent. In this case, parents are not then held liable for the payment of medical provided by this law.

Therefore, because I am such an advocate of health, I actually agree with AB 499 for the most part.
The Associated Press reported the law will also allow minors to seek other STD prevention treatment.

The bill text cited, “according to a July 2010 report of the California Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group, in 2008 there were 517 California children ages 10 through 17 who were infected with HIV/AIDS, 18,901 who were infected with chlamydia, 2,581 who were infected with gonorrhea, and 22 who were infected with syphilis.”

That’s scary.

An opposing organization, savecalifornia.com, released in a press release that stated “by signing AB 499 to coerce minors into risky Gardasil shots, Jerry Brown is deceptively telling preteen girls it will protect them from HPV, giving them a false sense of security that they can have all the sexual activity they want without risking developing cervical cancer or a raft of other negative consequences.”

The Center for Disease Control reports that HPV is so common that 50 percent of those who are sexually active will contract the virus. Also, each year about 12,000 women will get cervical cancer and almost all cases are associated with HPV.

So in response to the quote above, allowing a minor to seek prevention is a step in the right direction. If Brown does not follow up with the bill, i.e. implementing more and/or better sexual health education, children will have a false sense of security.

Gardasil only protects against 4 types of HPV; two of which cause cervical cancer and the other two which cause genital warts; while there are around 12 strains of HPV that may lead to cervical cancer.

And if medical physicians continue to do their job, children as young as 12 years-old will receive the important information about the vaccines. I know it helped me out back then.

Whether or not a child can comprehend information given to them on a vaccine is far beyond me. When I was a 12-year-old I was playing in the dirt.

The point is, times have obviously changed and STDs are more common. Despite what I or parents think, children will do as they please.

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