HPV vaccine isn’t total STD prevention

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been controversial since it was first suggested as a way for women to prevent cervical cancer, which stems from the disease. Now it seems that it may be causing some confusion among a portion of young women who receive the vaccination, leading them to believe that it protects against all sexually transmitted infections.

A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that most girls understand the limits of the HPV vaccine, according to Reuters. Researchers surveyed 339 girls between the ages of 13 and 21 who had received the vaccine, and the majority said they believed it was still important to wear condoms or other forms of protection against STDs. However, 23.6 percent of the girls and young women said that they believed they were at a lower risk for contracting STDs since the inoculation.

The researchers concluded that factors contributing to this dangerous myth are a result of a lack of information about the benefits of using condoms as well as less sexual health information about HPV infections.

"Clinicians discussing HPV vaccinations 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 the team of researchers, according to the news source.

Young women should also remember that the vaccine is meant to be a preventative measure, and does not cure any illnesses, including HPV, contracted before the inoculation was administered.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Symptoms of the disease include genital warts, and it can also cause cervical cancer.

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