The vaccine against human papilloma virus (HPV) has been on the market in the United States since 20006 and was originally recommended for teen girls. Some family organizations feared that the vaccine would give girls an excuse to engage in more sex and riskier sex, putting them at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. It turns out that girls who have been vaccinated against HPV are not more likely to catch a sexually transmitted disease (STD), according to a large study.
The purpose of the HPV vaccine is not just to help prevent a sexually transmitted infection, but because that infection is the cause of most cervical, anal, and vaginal cancers. The vaccine is now recommended for both girls and boys. It is intended to be given several years before the expected start of sex so that an immune response can develop.
The study looked at insurance data on more than 200,000 girls from 2005 to 2010 and compared NPV vaccination data to data on sexually STDs diseases. The study found that about 4 in every 1,000 girls came down with an STD in the year they were vaccinated compared to about 3 in every 1,000 girls who were not vaccinated. Over the following year, more girls developed an STD rising to more than 6 of every 1,000 vaccinated teens compared to more than 4 of every 1,000 unvaccinated teens.
The rates of STD infections increased with age in both groups, but the use of the HPV vaccine was not tied to any extra increase. Rates in vaccinated girls were higher than in unvaccinated girls both before and after their vaccination.
Only about 38% of girls in the United States had received all three doses of the HPV vaccine in 2013. The vaccine is given in a series of three shots over about 6 months.