Human papillomavirus vaccine increases high-risk sexual behaviors: a myth or valid concern

J Sch Nurs. 2014 Dec;30(6):456-63. doi: 10.1177/1059840513520042. Epub 2014 Jan 11.


In 2006, the first human pappilomavirus (HPV) vaccine was approved for females aged 9 to 26. However, the national HPV vaccination rate among young women has been low. Public concerns were raised in regard to the fact that HPV vaccination might encourage unsafe sex. This cross-sectional study examined the differences in sexual practices between college women who have and have not obtained the HPV vaccine. Participants were 209 vaccinees and 175 nonvaccinees. A web-based survey was used. Sexual practices (numbers of sexual partners in a lifetime and in the past 12 months, condom use, condom use frequency) were not significantly different between the two groups. Among the vaccinees, the numbers of sexual partners before and after vaccination was also not significantly different. School nurses are at the frontier to advise young girls/parents on HPV vaccination before the girls engage in sexual intercourse. They may utilize these findings to address the misunderstanding that HPV vaccination encourages unsafe sex.

Keywords: HPV vaccine; human papillomavirus; sexual behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Universities
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines