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

Former volleyball star runs to kill cancer

Since 2012, Stephanie Kurz has been pushing herself to the limit as… Continue reading

Mountainaire Avian Wildlife Centre in Merville now open

Mountainaire Avian Wildlife Centre in Merville now open

Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre open for the summer

Winter is receding at Paradise Meadows, and it is time to start… Continue reading

Courtenay Elementary students lobby Town of Comox to clean up ocean plastic

Some Vancouver Island students are not just learning about the problem of… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read