Parents (and politicians) who were concerned that giving their sons and daughters the HPV vaccine could make them more likely to have sex can rest easy: A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that getting the vaccine does not change sexual behavior.
Looking at a sample of nearly 1,400 girls, the researchers found no evidence that those who were vaccinated beginning around age 11 went on to engage in more sexual activity than girls who were not vaccinated.
“We’re hopeful that once physicians see this, it will give them evidence that they can give to parents,” said Robert A. Bednarczyk, the lead author of the report and a clinical investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Southeast, in Atlanta. “Hopefully when parents see this, it’ll be reassuring to them and we can start to overcome this barrier.”
The vaccine, which protects against many strains of the human papillomavirus that cause cancer and genital warts, is recommended for boys and girls ages 9 to 26. A Yale study previously found that concerns about promiscuity (now unfounded) were the top reason parents didn’t want to give their children the shots.
Read another Sexcerpts post about the HPV vaccine: Study Finds HPV Vaccine Safe.
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