Monday, January 2, 2012

Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine and Sexual Activity

Just the other night I was at a New Year's Eve party and a young woman was asking me my thoughts about the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. Naturally, as an infectious diseases physician, I am in favor of HPV vaccination.

Here is a recent article of note. The authors explored sexual behavior and demographic correlates of HPV vaccine initiation from a nationally representative survey of adolescent and young adult women. A  total of 1243 girls/women aged 15–24 years responded to questions about receiving HPV vaccine in the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). In 2010, demographic and sexual behavior correlates were evaluated in bivariate and multivariate analyses by age.

HPV vaccine initiation was higher among those aged 15–19 years than those aged 20–24 years (30.3% vs 15.9%, p<0.001).  HPV vaccine initiation was greater for those with insurance regardless of age. HPV vaccination was not associated with being sexually active or number of sex partners at either age. Among sexually active adolescents aged 15–19 years, those who received HPV vaccine were more likely to always wear a condom (AOR=3.0).
HPV vaccination will reduce the risk of cervical cancer and is not associated with risky sexual behavior. This is a sensible public health intervention.

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