Over the years many parents have expressed concern that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine given to girls before they become sexually active, could lead to higher incidence of sexual activity among teens. But a new study of 11 to 12 year olds, where the medical records of nearly 1400 girls were reviewed for 3 years after immunization has shown that this is not the case.
The study, to be in the November 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Oct. 15), states that the HPV vaccination of girls at the recommended ages was not associated with increased markers of sexual activity, as measured by pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease infections and/or contraceptive counseling for up to three years after vaccination. While early onset of sexual activity and multiple sexual partners are risk factors for HPV infection, the study found that young women do not plan to modify their sexual behaviors after receiving the HPV vaccination.
In 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that all girls ages 11 to 12 receive the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV), while the Public Health Agency Canada recommends the same for girls aged 9 to 15. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends the HPV vaccine for both boys and girls at ages 11 to 12. HPV strains are the most common sexually transmitted viruses, and HPV causes a large number of cancers of the mouth and throat, cervix and genital organs.
Sources: Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Oct. 15, 2012
and The Globe and Mail, October 17, 2012