Shortly after Merck’s Gardasil garnered media spotlight for being an innovation against cervical cancer development, Forbes ran a story on “Condoms Protect Against Cervical Cancer.” The article concluded with an expert’s quote that our society have undoubtedly heard at least a few hundred times over the course of growing up:
“Use condoms and use them properly,” Wu said. “It’s the best form of protection against STDs [sexually transmitted diseases].”
Sounds like common sense. Condoms protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and without potential side effects from drugs. Barring allergy to latex, condoms would score high on the scale of risk-benefit ratio.
Take obesity and diabetes as another example. Large scale, government funded studies have shown that exercise and diet had similar if not better overall efficacy and safety profile to delay the onset of diabetes in high risk patients.
We can all benefit from better dietary habits, and the virtues of exercise extends beyond physical fitness to alleviate depression and even guard against development of some cancers. But eating well and exercising regularly take a lot of effort and preparation and time and on the whole are just too hard… so our excuses say.
It’s much easier to ask the doctor to write us an Rx for a cholesterol lowering drug with a daily regimen of aspirin and antihypertensive and antidiabetic. We may even take antidepressants for organic or idiosynchratic depressive symptoms and anxiolytics from worrying about our healthcare burdens.
If my perceived consumer behavior is any indication, common sense may be too difficult to implement. For one thing, it would require preventive healthcare behavior, which has shown to be less common than reactive healthcare behavior.
… Or am I thinking a bit too cynically today?