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

UPDATE/VIDEO: Heavy police presence after body found in Maple Ridge

Body was discovered beneath the Golden Ears Bridge

On Cooking: Yes, I eat meat

I recognize the fact that we as people are not all the same.

VIDEO: Firefighters on scene at Mission house blaze

Flames can be seen rising from roof of home on Lightbody Crescent

Sports announced for Maple Ridge 2020 BC Summer Games

18 events will attract almost 3000 young athletes

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants couldn’t find the net: coach

Even with a six-on-three advantage, the Langley-based hockey team couldn’t earn points Sunday.

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

Mountie left with ‘significant’ injuries after driver attempts to flee traffic stop

Richmond RCMP are looking for a dark coloured Mercedes Benz

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Most Read