*The following is excerpted from an online article from Headlines and Global News.
In a recent study, researchers found that the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine does not impact teenage girls' sexual behavior.
In the past, concerns have been raised that the vaccine, which guards against four types of the virus known to cause genital warts and cervical cancer, could give girls a false sense of security and cause them to have riskier sex, Queen's University reported.
"These findings suggest fears of increased risky sexual [behavior] following HPV vaccination are unwarranted and should not be a barrier to vaccinating at a young age," says Dr. Leah Smith, the lead author on the study that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
To make their findings the researchers looked at 260,493 girls, about half of which were eligible for Ontario's publicly funded, school-based HPV vaccination program during the first two years it was offered. The research team followed the participants until March of their Grade 12 year and observed 6 percent of them became pregnant or contracted a sexually transmitted infection between the grades of 10 and 12. This included 10,187 pregnancies and 6,259 cases of non-HPV related sexually transmitted infections.
"Neither HPV vaccination nor program eligibility increased the risk of pregnancy nor non-HPV-related STIs among females aged 14-17 years," said Dr. Linda Lévesque, the senior author of the study. "The results of this study can be used by physicians, public-health providers and policy-makers to address public and parental concerns about HPV vaccination and promiscuity."
"We present strong evidence that HPV vaccination does not have any significant effect on clinical indicators of sexual behaviour among adolescent girls. 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 wrote in their abstract.