Among the earliest and most persistent arguments used from the HPV vaccines is that vaccinating young people against HPV might encourage them to get more sex or raise their risk of getting another STD. In various ways, the ways this anxiety was expressed have appeared to be about real worries about safer sex and STDs and more about policing the novelty of young people–particularly young ladies.
However, it’s worth assessing whether there is any scientific justification for concern.
The answer, unsurprisingly, is an unqualified no.
HPV Vaccination Does Not Boost STD Risk
From the start of the research into HPV vaccines, there has been no proof that vaccinating young people against the virus is associated with significant changes in sexual activity. Realistically speaking, this shouldn’t be a surprise. HPV hasn’t been an STD that people have traditionally concerned about. In reality, the public just started to become aware of its association with cervical and other cancers when the first vaccine, Gardasil, hit the market. Therefore, there wasn’t any reason to suspect that vaccination would change sexual practices, except for the common, nebulous, and frequently disproven notion that speaking about sex increases the likelihood that people will have it. If that’s not true for the quantity of discussion that occurs during sex education classes, and it isn’t, it’s quite unlikely to be authentic for the little quantity of debate that accompanies most physician’s appointment.
That is not evidence, per se. To truly convince individuals that HPV vaccination isn’t associated with anything other than a drop in HPV infections and related conditions, researchers have had to execute long-term studies to examine the effects of the vaccine on the people who get it. Luckily, a number of such studies are done, and they’ve consistently found that HPV neither increases STD risk nor causes significant changes in the manner that people have intercourse.
In reality, vaccination not only directly shields young people against HPV infections and their potential consequences, it can actually promote better sexual health. Several studies have indicated that people who have obtained the HPV vaccine are better educated about danger and more proactive about positive health behaviours such as the Pap smear and other screenings. That may be confused by the fact that parents who are ready to have”The Talk” could be the very same parents who are more inclined to receive their teens vaccinated. However, it could also be the demand for vaccination prompts teens and adults to begin engaging in education about danger, and learning about risk is one of the very first steps towards creating smarter decisions about sex.