A first-of-its-kind study published last week in Pediatrics that compared the medical records of 1,400 young girls who have and have not received the HPV vaccine found no difference in the sexual behavior of the two groups.

The HPV vaccine is proven to protect against cervical cancer, but religious believers often reject its use on the basis that it would increase childrens’ sexual promiscuity. 

However, this study debunks that claim. From the Guardian:

The researchers didn’t ask girls about having sex, but instead looked at “markers” of sexual activity after vaccination against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV. Specifically, they examined up to three years of records on whether girls had sought birth control advice; tests for sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy; or had become pregnant.

Very few of the girls who got the shots at age 11 or 12 had done any of those over the next three years, or by the time they were 14 or 15. Moreover, the study found no difference in rates of those markers compared with unvaccinated girls.

Here’s my question: what if this study found that children who receive the HPV vaccine were slightly more likely to engage in sexual acts than their unvaccinated counterparts? Would that really be reason enough to not protect young girls from cervical cancer?

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