Preteen girls who received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine were no more likely than unvaccinated girls to get pregnant, develop sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or seek birth-control counseling.
These were the findings of a new study, discounting concern that HPV vaccination encourages promiscuity, reported USA Today.
HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer. NY Daily News said the HPV vaccine can help prevent cervical cancer, but it's most effective when given to girls before they become sexually active.
CBS News stated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend HPV vaccination for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12. Three doses are generally recommended over six months.
But less than half of girls eligible receive it, wrote MSN.com. Reuters said that one of the arguments against HPV vaccination is that it gives preteens a false sense of security when it comes to sex.
The new study seems to supports evidence to the contrary. The study involved girls enrolled in an Atlanta Kaiser Permanente health plan.
Reuters wrote that out of 1,398 girls who were 11 or 12 when they saw their doctors in 2006 and 2007, 493 got at least one dose of the HPV vaccine.
CBS News said that the researchers didn't ask girls about having sex. Instead they looked at sexual activity “markers” after vaccination against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus.
Specifically, they examined up to three years of records whether girls sought birth control counseling; tests for STDs or pregnancy; or became pregnant.
Very few of the preteen girls who got the shots had done any of those over the next three years, wrote Associated Press. Moreover, the study found no difference in rates of those markers compared with unvaccinated girls.
Based on primary care visit records, 107 of the girls were given a pregnancy test through 2010, and 55 were tested for chlamydia. Girls who did or didn't get the HPV vaccine were equally likely to be tested for both, said Reuters.