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Vaccine may affect trends in sexual attitudes, STD testing

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

When the FDA approved of a vaccine which defends against the human papillomavirus (HPV) - an STD that has been liked with cervical cancer - some factions believed the preventative measure might encourage girls to become more sexually active. A new survey of UK teenagers who have received or been offered the vaccine may mollify this concern.

During to the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester, investigators surveyed 553 girls who were offered the Cervarix vaccine between October 2007 and September 2008.

The results demonstrated that about 80 percent of the girls said being vaccinated against HPV reminded them of the risks of sexual contact; just 14 percent thought that the vaccination might lead them to take more sexual risks.

"The vaccine actually made them more aware of the risks of sex," said Loretta Brabin, the study's lead researcher. "This is the first insight into how a girl decides whether the vaccine is important to her and who influences her decision."

Because cervical cancer is asymptomatic in its early stages, doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend STD and cancer testing for early detection of the disease.

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