|An electron micrograph of the
human papilloma virus.
(National Cancer Institute photo)
The most recent study of preteen girls who received the vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV) found that they were no more likely than unvaccinated girls to get pregnant, develop sexually transmitted infections or seek birth-control counseling. The findings in Monday’s issue of Pediatrics are in line with recent studies on British teens, which also dismissed concerns that getting the vaccination might encourage promiscuity. USA Today reporter Michael Healy writes that while the latest results were based on parental or self-reporting, the reports were corroborated by medical tests, clinical markers of sexual activity and other behavior markers.
Robert Bednarczyk, a clinical investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research-Southeast and an epidemiologist at Emory University in Atlanta., queried 1,398 girls, aged 11 and 12, and analyzed their medical records. He and colleagues divided the girls into two groups and followed them for three years. “One group of 493 girls received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine Gardasil, along with other recommended vaccines for tetanus and meningitis. A comparison group of 905 girls received the tetanus and meningitis vaccines, but not HPV,” Healy writes. “There was a very similar rate of testing, diagnosis and counseling between both groups,” with no increase in pregnancies, STIs or birth-control counseling, Bednarczyk reported. Fewer than 1 percent of all girls tested positively for a sexually transmitted infection, and fewer than 1 percent had a positive pregnancy test. (Read more)