Most girls who receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine don't take it as a license for riskier sexual behavior, researchers reported.
In baseline data from a longitudinal study, participants perceived themselves at lower risk for HPV infection after getting the vaccine, according to Tanya Kowalczyk Mullins, MD, of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, and colleagues.
But most still said they needed to practice safer sex, Mullins and colleagues reported in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
In fact, it seems like girls who aren't vaccinated and don't know about the vaccine also are less aware of safer sex practices in general.
On the other hand, those who saw less of a continued need for safer sex were more likely to have a lower level of knowledge about HPV and the vaccine itself, the researchers reported.
It's almost like going to a medical professional and having frank, open discussions about sex is a good thing for young people! And that realizing they have some immunity to one STD doesn't erase from their lil' ol' brains all of the other risks associated with unprotected sex. Still no word on whether being vaccinated will turn them into pantry-dropping trollops who see authority figures as having given them "permission" to make their own sexual choices, though. Maybe another study?