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Is HPV Vaccination to Blame for an Increase in STDs?

There are a number of complex factors involved when STD rates rise: A lack of safe sex practices among senior citizens. Increasing use of Craigslist and smart phone apps that relax social norms and up the number of casual hook-ups. A lack of regular STD testing, due to fear, embarrassment, or ignorance.

Fortunately, researchers have concluded that HPV vaccination is not one of the causes of higher STD rates.

Here’s what you should know about HPV vaccination and why it’s good that there’s no link when it comes to STDs.

Research Shows HPV Vaccination Doesn’t Result in Rising STD Rates

Happy TeensThe study, headed by researchers from Boston’s Harvard Medical School, was conducted using an insurance database including females aged 12 – 18 from 2005 – 2010. It compared STD rates among adolescent girls who received the HPV vaccination during that period (21,610 girls total) vs. those who did not (186,501 total). HPV vaccination increased in the 5 year period, with 27.3% of girls obtaining their HPV vaccination by December 2010 vs. 2.5% of girls in December 2006.

Their research found that the vaccinated girls were more likely to be sexually active in the year prior to HPV vaccination compared to the non-vaccinated, and that vaccinated girls had higher STD rates both before and after vaccination. However, the fact that STD rates increased for both vaccinated girls and non-vaccinated girls in the year following vaccination supports the conclusion that HPV vaccination does not cause higher STD rates.

Why would researchers think HPV vaccination could raise STD rates?

Some parents have expressed concern over HPV vaccination, thinking that immunization can promote unsafe sexual practices. Teens may think that the HPV vaccine will protect them from other STDs, or that since they’ve been vaccinated against HPV, they don’t have to use protection.

Fortunately, this research will reassure parents that HPV vaccination is the right route. Those who are still concerned should focus on educating their child on STDs and safe sex, explaining that the HPV vaccine does not protect against all forms of sexually transmitted diseases or infections.

Why this is good news

Now that we know there isn’t a link between HPV vaccination and high STD rates, hopefully, more adolescents — both boys and girls — will be vaccinated against the virus. This is important because HPV is a very common virus that almost every person will contract at least once in their lives, and it can lead to genital warts and even cervical cancer, which is responsible for the deaths of 4,000 women annually. HPV vaccination can prevent up to 70% of the medical problems caused by HPV strains.

Since only 57% of girls 13 – 17 have received one dose of the HPV vaccination and only 38% all three recommended doses, we’re hopeful this study will encourage more parents to get their teens vaccinated.

Stop rising STD rates: get tested regularly.

Part of HPV prevention includes STD testing. TEST SMARTLY LABS nationwide can provide the STD testing you need to keep your sexual health in good shape.

To get started, contact your nearest wellness-certified location today.

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