HPV vaccination doesn’t initiate teen sex: Study

New York, Feb 3: In ground-breaking research, scientists have discovered that Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine does not lead teen girls or adult women to start having sex or to engage in unsafe sex.

A study by Ohio-based Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre shows that teen girls’ and young women’s beliefs regarding the HPV vaccine, whether accurate or inaccurate, are not linked to subsequent sexual behaviours over the six months after vaccination.

“We hope this study reassures parents, and thus improves HPV vaccination rates, which, in turn, would reduce rates of cervical and other cancers that can result from HPV infection,” Jessica Kahn, a physician at Cincinnati Children’s was quoted as saying in a press release.

Kahn studied sexually experienced and inexperienced young teens and women between age 13 and 21.

More than 300 completed questionnaires immediately after receiving the vaccine, and most of them completed follow-up surveys again two and six months later.

The study examined adolescent girls’ and young women’s risk perceptions or beliefs about the HPV vaccine.

The researchers examined two risk perceptions – immediately after vaccination did participants feel they still needed to practice safer sex behaviours, and did they feel protected against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) besides HPV.

“The latter is an inappropriate perception that may lead to riskier behaviours,” said Kahn.

“The vast majority thought it was still important to practice safer sex after vaccination, and most did not believe that HPV vaccination protected against other STIs,” added Kahn.

“This study offers convincing evidence that vaccination does not lead to riskier behaviours and that should be reassuring to parents,” she added in the study published in the journal Pediatrics.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity with another person.