HPV Vaccines Don’t Turn Teen Girls Into Nymphomaniacs, Says Study
It’s always something with people and vaccines. When the HPV vaccine first hit the market, there was a lot of fretting from some circles that giving teenage girls the vaccine would turn them into wanton sluts, or that the vaccine itself was unnecessary, because HPV could be avoided by women just not having sex.
One of these groups, the Traditional Values Coalition, summarized their opposition to the vaccine as such:
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, there are an average of 3,700 women in the U.S. each year who die from cervical cancer. Women in developing countries “account for about 85% of both the yearly cases of cervical cancer (estimated at 493,000 cases worldwide) and the yearly deaths from cervical cancer (estimated at 273,500 deaths worldwide).
While these 3,700 deaths are a tragedy, this is not a national health crisis nor does it require that states like Texas should rush to mandate an HPV vaccine upon girls. Mandatory vaccines should only be required when outbreaks of polio, tuberculosis or other easily transmitted diseases may threaten a school or community.
HPV is contracted through sexual contact and is not contagious. Therefore, almost all cases of HPV could be prevented through responsible sexual behavior, including fidelity in marriage and abstinence outside of marriage.
It’s pretty clear where they’re going with this. These people clearly consider STIs a useful tool for preventing people from having sex, and, on some level, punishing it. It’s the same deal with opposing birth control–they want there to be consequences for sexual behavior that they disagree with. They like those consequences being there.
Anyway, despite their fears and nail-biting, yet another study has shown that no, the HPV vaccine does not turn teenagers into nymphomaniacs.
In the study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, 21,000 U.S. girls who received an HPV vaccine were compared to 186,000 who were unvaccinated. The girls lived in the same region of the U.S. and had the same insurance plans. The researchers measured the rate of STIs before the girls were vaccinated and monitored their rate of STI infections for a year afterward.
The results showed that while the vaccinated girls did have a slightly higher rate of STIs before and after their vaccine, the researchers suggest that it could be due to the fact that girls who opt for the vaccine may already be sexually active.
However, the researchers found that the rate of STIs overall were equal among the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. The researchers concluded that this means the vaccine itself does not change sexual activity or behavior.
“If providing girls with the HPV vaccine caused an increase in risky sexual behavior, we would expect to have seen a steeper increase in STI rates in the quarters following administration of the vaccine,” said study co-author Seth Seabury, an associate professor of research at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in a statement. “We found no such increase, causing us to conclude that there was no association between using the vaccine and unsafe sexual practices.”
It’s hardly surprising. I mean, I don’t think you’re going to find a lot of girls going “Oh! Sweet! I’ve got the Gardasil! Time to go bang the entire swim team!” or anything anyway. I mean, to be entirely honest–despite the fact that it can cause serious health problems–people are far less afraid of HPV than they are of pregnancy or of most other STIs, partly because it’s just so common. [Time]