Those convinced that the HPV vaccine is their little girl’s induction into middle school orgies would do well to stop watching so much sensationalistic coverage of teenage sexuality. And maybe even consider a new independent study funded by Emory University and Kaiser Permanente. It would appear that a cancer prevention vaccine to tween girls does not always come with a detailed pamphlet on sex positions, “now achievable with Gardasil!”
Researchers reviewed data of 1,398 11-year-old girls on the Kaiser Permanente health plan in Georgia between 2006 and 2007. This was in the year and a half following the availability of Gardasil. Nearly 500 of the girls in the study received the HPV vaccine and were then compared with 906 girls who did not. The young ladies in both groups were then followed for three years to discern whether they had been counseled about birth control, taken a pregnancy test, received any STD testing, or had been diagnosed with an STD.
Approximately 10% of the girls — in both groups — had participated in one of the aforementioned health practices. While the average age of any of these results was 14.5, less than one percent of the girls — of which there were eight — got pregnant or was diagnosed with an STD.
Dr. Robert Bednarczyk, the lead study author and a clinical investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research-Southeast in Atlanta, spells it out for you:
“Our study found a very similar rate of testing, diagnosis and counseling among girls who received the vaccine and girls who did not. We saw no increase in pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections or birth control counseling – all of which suggest the HPV vaccine does not have an impact on increased sexual activity.”
Dr. Robert Davis, co-author on the study, describes the findings as “reassuring news for teenagers, parents, and members of the public.” He frames the issue back around the considerably less titillating “prevent[ing] these rare but sometimes deadly cancers.”
These Kaiser Permanente findings also echo the conclusion of another University College London study that found English girls to have no uptick in teenage sexcapades following Gardasil vaccinations. Medical News Today writes, the “sexual behavior of the vaccinated girls was no different from that of the unvaccinated ones.”
Guess we’ll have to come up with a better –nonslut-shamey — reason for leaving our daughters vulnerable to developing cancers rather than concern for their chastity belts.