No association between HPV vaccination and risky sexual behaviors found in girls
the ONA take:
A significant concern in regard to young girls receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was that introducing the idea of sexual activity at a young age would increase the risk of those girls’ engaging in risky sexual behaviors.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of Southern California investigated the concept. Their findings suggest that the vaccine does not promote risky sexual behaviors among those who received it. The study included 21,000 girls who received the vaccination matched with 186,000 girls who did not receive it.
Both groups were the same age, had the same insurance plan, and lived in the same geographic area of the United States. The researchers measured rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) quarterly for 1 year before and 1 year after vaccination.
Although rates of STIs was slightly higher among the vaccinated girls before and after vaccination, the rate of STIs increased at the same pace in both groups. The researchers conclude that if receipt of the HPV vaccine caused an increase in risky sexual behavior, they would have seen a steeper increase in STIs among the vaccinated girls.
This did not occur, which lead to their conclusion that receipt of the HPV vaccine was not associated with unsafe sexual practices. Two HPV vaccines are currently available, Ceravix and Gardasil.
Both prevent cervical cancer; Gardasil also protects against genital warts and anal cancer in both girls and boys, and against vulvar cancer and vaginal cancer in girls. HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years.
Gardasil protects against genital warts and anal cancer in both girls and boys, and against vulvar cancer and vaginal cancer in girls.
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