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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: Some Girls Overestimate HPV Vaccine Protection
Julie Steenhuysen
January 6, 2012
Reuters (01.02.12) - Friday, January 06, 2012

Nearly a quarter of adolescent girls who were vaccinated against human papillomavirus were subsequently less concerned about practicing safer sex, a new study found. HPV vaccine cannot prevent other STDs, or treat active HPV infections.

In a survey of 339 females ages 13-21 who had received their first HPV shot, most endorsed the continuing importance of practicing safer sex. However, 23.6 percent thought they were at less risk for getting STDs after the shot. Factors associated with this perception included having less information about the HPV vaccine and HPV infections, being less concerned about contracting HPV, and not using a condom at last sexual intercourse with a male partner.

The findings from a single urban clinic serving low-income clients may not be applicable to a more general population, the authors said.

"Clinicians discussing HPV vaccination with girls and their mothers may need to emphasize the limitations of the vaccine and to specifically address that the vaccine does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections," wrote study authors Dr. Tanya Kowalczyk Mullins, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues.

The study, "Adolescent Perceptions of Risk and Need for Safer Sexual Behaviors After First Human Papillomavirus Vaccination," was published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (2012;166(1):82-88).