HPV vaccines do not lead to greater sexual activity

For quite some time now we have been hearing counter-common sense arguments that claim the administration of HPV vaccines will make young girls more likely to engage in sexual activity. One recent study shows those arguments to be bogus:

Adolescent girls who get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine are no more likely to show signs they may be engaging in sexual activity than girls who do not get the vaccine, according to a new study that challenges a widely held belief…

Researchers from Emory University in Atlanta followed electronic data of nearly 1,400 girls aged 11 and 12 between July 2006 and December 2010 to see whether they received at least one dose of the vaccine within the first year and whether they were later counseled about contraception, acquired a sexually transmitted disease or became pregnant.

More than a quarter of girls ages 15 to 17 report being sexually active, according to the CDC.

The study followed the girls to the age range where sexual activity would have been initiated, according to the researchers.

The nearly 500 girls who received at least one dose of the vaccine were no more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, discuss contraception or become pregnant than the nearly 900 girls who did not get the vaccine, the study found.

“We couldn’t directly look at sexual activity, so we looked at external outcomes that would suggest sexual activity,” said Dr. Robert Bednarczyk, clinical investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Southeast, and lead author of the study.

The sort of arguments that inspired the above study are of the same sort that inspire studies which show that abstinence-only education is an abysmal failure. Again and again, social conservatives and overly worried parents will claim or wonder if the exposure to greater information will cause their children to become sexually active at a young age. Only the wonder is justified; over and over we are seeing that access to proper information and sound medical protections are the correct path to take.

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One Response

  1. “HPV vaccines do not lead to greater sexual activity”

    Comment from teen-aged boy:

    “Darn.”

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