A new UBC study suggests that the HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls. (Unsplash)

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

Girls who received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine are no more likely to engage in risky sexual activity, a study from the University of B.C. suggests.

The study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, looked at the sexual behaviour of teen girls for the decade between 2003 and 2013.

The HPV vaccine was rolled out to girls in Grade 6 and 9 in 2008 and for girls in Grade 6 after 2011.

HPV is a common, sexually transmitted infection that often resolves naturally without intervention. If left untreated, persistent infection with high-risk types of the virus can cause precancerous lesions that may progress to cervical, anal, or reproductive tract cancers.

READ MORE: B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

READ MORE: HPV vaccine to be made available to Grade 6 boys in B.C.

Researchers looked at data 2003, 2008 and 2013 data from the BC Adolescent Health Survey, conducted among Grade 7 to 12 students every five years.

They found that only 18.3 per cent of teenage girls reported having sex in 2013, down from 20.6 in 2008 and 21.3 in 2003.

Those results were accompanied by a drop in girls under the age of 14 having sex and by a slight increase in condom use.

“What we have seen over the past 10 years is that young people are making healthier choices around sexual behaviours,” said UBC nursing professor and senior study author Elizabeth Saewyc.

“The knowledge and information about sexual health and the availability of the HPV vaccine to help prevent cancer has not changed things for the worse.”

The study had come after some parents expressed fears that the HPV vaccine would make their daughters more promiscuous, but Dr. Gina Ogilvie, lead study author and assistant director at the Women’s Health Research Institute at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, said that the study results did not point to that.

“These findings are consistent with studies in Scandinavia, and smaller clinic-based studies in the U.S. confirming that adolescent women do not make poorer sexual health choices after the HPV vaccine,” said Ogilvie, who is also the Canada Research Chair in Global Control of HPV-Related Disease and Cancer.

At 67 per cent, B.C. has one of the lowest HPV vaccination rates in the country.

According to B.C. Cancer, about 200 women in B.C. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 50 die from it.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Peachland’s doctors moving out of the district

All the doctors at Beach Avenue Medical Centre are leaving

Kelowna man catches mysterious chicken killer on camera

Rod Tribiger wanted to find out what was killing his chickens

Rockets forward Erik Gardiner announces retirement

Gardiner has played for the Rockets since 2016

Giant rotating ice disk forms in Maine river

Ice disk that is roughly 100 yards wide has formed in the Presumpscot River

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Pregnant B.C. firefighter tries to save own house that caught fire

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Long-time Okanagan construction business closing

After 65 years, OK Builders announces it’s closing its Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton operations

Most Read