The Duggar family is used to getting backlash for their controversial religious views, but this one takes the cake. Fans of TLC's hit reality TV series Counting On know that the Duggar children are taught that premarital sex is a sin, which is why they save themselves for marriage — meaning they aren't even allowed to hug or kiss their partner until they say "I do." But the Duggar daughters are taught that there is another reason to not have sex before marriage — and it's that they can die from sexually transmitted infections like HPV.
"God has created physical intimacy to be a wonderful wedding gift for pleasure and bonding and to procreate children, but if it is done prematurely or with multiple partners, the very thing that was created to bring joy can bring sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause infertility, cervical cancer, and a life sentence of pain and suffering," read an excerpt from the 2014 book Growing Up Duggar, written by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar.
But their statements about HPV just simply aren't true — in fact, the CDC stated that "in most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems." In other cases, HPV can (emphasis on the word "can") cause genital warts or cervical cancer — which the girls touch on in their next paragraph.
"HPV is just one of many sexually transmitted viruses, but it has recently become a notorious killer of women. According to the National Cancer Institute, 'Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by HPV infections,'" the excerpt continued. "The American Cancer Society estimates that 4,030 women will die from cervical cancer this year. STDs like HPV also carry a high risk of being passed on to loved ones, including the woman’s husband or her children."
The girls then told their readers that there is nothing worse than having to tell your "future husband" that you are not a virgin and you have an STD that can be passed onto him if they get married.
According to the National Cancer Institute — the same source the girls cited in their book — more than 90% of sexually active men and 80% sexually active women will be infected with at least one type of high-risk and low-risk strains of HPV at some point during their lifetime. Most high-risk HPV infections are symptom-less, they can go away within one to two years or they can persist for many years, but many of them do not cause cancer.
While it is true that nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, the chances of an HPV infection leading to cancer are slim — in the US, about 3% of all cancer cases among women and about 2% of cancer cases among men are caused by high-risk HPV. There are also three vaccinations that can prevent HPV — but we're not entirely sure if the Duggars vaccinate their children.
Love the Duggars? Be sure to join our Duggars Facebook group to chat about all the latest updates and juicy gossip!