The HPV vaccine is a wonder drug of sorts. If a patient completes the three dose regimen, they’ll be protected against HPV infections that cause 60 percent of vaginal cancers, 70 percent of cervical cancers, 80 percent of anal cancers and 90 percent of genital warts.
However, the HPV vaccination rate remains low. Only 37 percent of girls aged between 13 and 17 completed the entire treatment last year.
One of the issues, besides health concerns, is the belief that the health benefits provided by HPV vaccination would encourage girls to engage in more, and riskier sex.
But a new study, conducted by researchers at McGill University in Quebec, and Queen’s University in Ontario, goes a long way to disproving the idea that HVP inoculation will lead to risky sexual behavior.
“There is “strong evidence that HPV vaccination does not have any significant effect on clinical indicators of sexual behavior among adolescent girls,” the researchers wrote in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The scientist reviewed the data from a vaccination program offered to 8th graders in Ontario in 2007. They compared the sexual behavior of girls who were eligible and ineligible for the HPV Vaccine.
Those who were ineligible where half way through the 8th grade when the program started. Roughly half of the 8th grade girls were not eligible for the vaccine and approximately 260,500 girls were part of the study.
Researchers found that 5.6 percent of girls who were vaccinated engaged in risky sexual behavior in grades 10-12, whereas 6.3 percent of the girls who were not eligible for vaccination became pregnant or contracted an STI during the same period.
A previous study also found no direct link between HPV vaccination and increased sexual activity. Specifically, the Pediatrics study found no evidence of an increased risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease or an increase in contraceptive counseling.
“These results suggest that concerns over increased promiscuity following HPV vaccination are unwarranted and should not deter from vaccinating at a young age,” the researchers added.