Tuesday, 10 February 2015

HPV Vaccination Does Not Appear to Boost Risky Teen Sex, Study Shows


After its introduction, increase in STD rates was same in vaccinated, unvaccinated girls

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to what some parents might fear, girls who get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) do not treat it as a green light to start having risky sex, a new study indicates.

Researchers said they hope the findings, published online Feb. 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine, help ease parents' minds.

For nearly a decade, experts have recommended that girls and young women be vaccinated against HPV -- the sexually transmitted infection that can cause genital warts and, in some people, eventually lead to cervical cancer.

Most cases of cervical cancer among U.S. women are caused by persistent HPV infection, experts say.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups recommend that all girls aged 11 and 12 receive the HPV vaccine, and that teenagers and young women up to age 26 get "catch-up" shots if they missed the earlier window. While vaccination was initially suggested for girls only, the advice now extends to boys and young men.

Yet by 2013, only 38 percent of U.S. teenage girls had received all three doses of the HPV vaccine, according to the CDC.

There are multiple reasons, but one issue has been particularly thorny: Some people have argued that vaccinating children against HPV gives tacit consent for them to start having sex, said lead researcher Dr. Anupam Jena.

"It's a valid concern," said Jena, an assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, in Boston. "That's why it's important to scientifically study it."

Past surveys have suggested that HPV vaccination has not been encouraging kids to become sexually active. But, Jena noted, those studies depended on parents' and teens' own reports.

To get a more-objective picture, Jena's team scoured health insurance records for over 200,000 U.S. girls, looking at rates of sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes.

The researchers reasoned that if HPV vaccination spurs girls to have sex -- unsafe sex, in particular -- then STD diagnoses should change noticeably in the year after vaccination.

source : HPV Vaccination Does Not Appear to Boost Risky Teen Sex, Study Shows

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