HPV vaccine doesn't encourage girls to have more sex: study
Despite criticisms that the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine encourages young girls to have sex, a new study finds evidence to the contrary.
The HPV vaccine can help prevent cervical cancer, but it's most effective when given to girls before they become sexually active. But critics have long argued that vaccination is like offering girls a green light to have sex.
But a UK study announced this week finds that the vaccine doesn't make girls more sexually active, or less likely to use condoms if they are having sex. The study appears in the journal Vaccine.
Behavioral health researcher Alice Forster and her team looked at a cross-section of more than 1,000 girls in the UK, averaging around 17 years old. Of these, 433 had been offered the HPV vaccine and 620 hadn't been offered the drug. After the researchers tracked the girls' behaviors for several months, results showed that the group of girls who had been offered the HPV vaccine were no more likely to be sexually active than the girls who hadn't been offered the vaccine.
In addition, of those who were offered the vaccination, the 148 subjects who were vaccinated were no more likely to be lax about condom use or have more sexual partners than those who didn't opt for the vaccination.
The findings support research last year that found that girls ages 15 to 19 who are vaccinated against HPV were no more likely to have sex or to have more partners than unvaccinated girls. That study was published in the January 2011 issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine.