HPV vaccine not a gateway to sex

Closeup of syringe, needle and vaccine bottle

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In the first study examining clinical markers of sexual activity after receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil, researchers at Emory and Kaiser Permanente found no association between the vaccine and an increase in sexual activity among girls. The results were published online in the journal Pediatrics.

The study, an independent research project funded by Kaiser Permanente and Emory, included 1,398 girls ages eleven to twelve who were members of the Kaiser Permanente health plan in Georgia in 2006 and 2007, during the first eighteen months after the Gardasil vaccine became available.

“Our study found a very similar rate of testing, diagnosis, and counseling among girls who received the vaccine and girls who did not,” says lead author Robert Bednarczyk, an epidemiologist in the Rollins School of Public Health’s Hubert Department of Global Health and a clinical investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research–Southeast. “We saw no increase in pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or birth control counseling—all of which suggest the HPV vaccine does not have an impact on increased sexual activity.”

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