(HealthDay News) — Getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) does not appear to increase unsafe sexual practices among teen girls, according to a new study published online February 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Anupam Jena, MD, PhD, assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues analyzed health insurance records for 208,111 U.S. girls, looking at rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes.
The investigators found that STI rates did rise among vaccinated girls – to 6.8 cases per 1,000 girls. But there was a nearly identical increase among unvaccinated girls, whose rate rose to 4.2 per 1,000 over the same time period. “Hopefully, this will help allay some concerns about vaccination,” Jena told HealthDay.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups recommend that all girls aged 11–12 receive the HPV vaccine, and that teenagers and young women up to age 26 should still receive the vaccine even if they missed the earlier window. While vaccination was initially suggested for girls only, the advice now extends to boys and young men.