There have been claims recently that the HPV (Human papillomavirus) vaccination increases sexual activity in adolescent girls as it effectively gives them a 'green light' to have sex because of a perceived protection against sexually transmitted infections. This study published in Vaccine, examines whether or not there is any influence on sexual behaviour as a result of being offered or given the vaccination.
The study looked at a cross-section of over 1,052 girls in the UK, with a mean age of 17.1 years. Of these, 433 had been offered the HPV vaccine and 620 had not yet been offered the vaccine. Results showed that the group of girls who had been offered the HPV vaccine were no more likely to be sexually active than the group of girls who had not yet been offered it. Those who had been vaccinated (148 participants), were no more likely to have changed their condom use or increased their total number of sexual partners than the unvaccinated group (259 participants); providing evidence that neither being offered the vaccine or receiving the vaccine has an effect on the sexual behaviour of adolescent girls.
Notes for editors
This article is "Human papillomavirus vaccination and sexual behaviour: Cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys conducted in England" by Alice S. Forster, Laura A.V. Marlow, Judith Stephenson, Jane Wardle and Jo Waller (DOI 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.05.053) and appears in Vaccine published by Elsevier.
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