HPV vaccine makes girls more cautious about sex

Oct 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nearly 80% of girls say that having the HPV vaccine makes them think twice about the risks of having sex, according to a University of Manchester study published in the British Journal of Cancer.

The survey - the first to focus on ’ views of the rather than their parents’ - showed that, despite speculation that the vaccine could make girls more likely to start having younger, it highlighted the risks of sex for the overwhelming majority.

The study also revealed that the support of parents is crucial to the success of the vaccination programme - of the girls whose parents refused the vaccine, 42 per cent actually wanted it. And 10 per cent of those who were vaccinated didn’t want it.

Dr Loretta Brabin, study author based at the University’s School of Cancer and Imaging Sciences, said: “This is the first insight into how a girl decides whether the vaccine is important to her and who influences her decision.

“Talking to their parents was massively influential on the girls, and mums and dads will play an important role in maintaining the success of the programme so far.

“The thing that put girls off the most was fear of needles and how much it would hurt.

“Some girls had also heard rumours about side-effects, which had filtered down from the media and their parents and had been exaggerated along the way.

“Interestingly, media suggestions that the vaccine could make girls more likely to start having sex at a younger age hadn’t affected them. In fact, the vaccine actually made them more aware of the risks of sex.”

The researchers questioned over 500 twelve and thirteen year olds who had been offered the vaccine in a study in Manchester before the vaccine was available nationally.

Although 79 per cent of girls said the vaccine reminded them of the risks of sex, 14 per cent said they might take more sexual risks because of it.

Nearly four in five girls said they discussed the decision to have the vaccine with their parents. Ninety-three per cent of girls said having the vaccine shows that you are serious about your health and 54 per cent felt the jab was very important to them.

In the UK, girls aged 12 to 13 are offered the as a part of the government’s vaccination programme that started last year. The vaccine has the potential to prevent at least 7 out of 10 cervical cancers.

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Despite the scare-stories, this research suggests that the HPV vaccine could make the majority of girls more cautious about sex.

“The HPV vaccine is an important step towards preventing cervical in the UK but it will only be truly successful if uptake is high.

“It’s important that girls also get appropriate sex education so that they’re all aware of the risks.

“This research gives us important insights into how we can help to maximise the uptake of the and allay any fears girls and parents may have.”

More information: A survey of adolescent experiences of human papillomavirus vaccination in the Manchester study. Brabin et al. British Journal of Cancer. October 2009.

Provided by University of Manchester (news : web)

Explore further: DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

One in four California adolescent girls has had HPV vaccine

Feb 17, 2009

Less than two years after the HPV vaccine was approved as a routine vaccination for girls aged 11 and older, one-quarter of California adolescent girls have started the series of shots that protect against human papillomavirus, ...

Study finds girls aware of HPV vaccine's benefits

Oct 15, 2009

Contrary to concerns that the human papillomavirus vaccine might promote promiscuity, a national survey of girls and young women found that the majority of respondents did not believe the HPV vaccine protected them against ...

Study: HPV vaccine hurts less than expected

Oct 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Injections of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine appear to be no more painful than other shots that prevent disease, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel ...

Study on government's controversial choice of HPV vaccine

Jul 18, 2008

The UK government may save up to £18.6 million a year by deciding to use the HPV vaccine Cervarix, given that it is equally effective as the more expensive Gardasil in preventing cervical abnormalities, according to a study ...

Some men want girls' vaccine, too

Feb 23, 2007

Some British gay men want to be vaccinated with the drug approved to protect girls from cervical cancer, saying it could help them, too.

Recommended for you

DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate (Update)

14 hours ago

A high-tech screening tool for cervical cancer is facing pushback from more than a dozen American patient groups, who warn that the genetic test could displace a simpler, cheaper and more established mainstay of women's health: ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.