Objective: To assess whether recipients and non-recipients of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine subsequently differ in terms of sexual risk taking behaviour.
Design: Cross-sectional survey. Sequential analyses constructed from self-reported age at vaccination, age at first intercourse and age at response.
Setting: A random selection of women aged 18-46 years living in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 2011-2012, eligible for opportunistic or organized catch-up HPV vaccination.
Participants: A total of 3805 women reported to have received the HPV vaccine and 40,247 reported not to have received it. Among vaccinees, 1539 received the HPV vaccine before or at the same age as sexual debut, of which 476 and 1063 were eligible for organized catch-up and opportunistic vaccination, respectively.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported sexual behaviour, compared by hazard ratios and odds ratios for women who received the HPV vaccine before or at the same age as sexual debut versus women who did not receive the HPV vaccine.
Results: HPV vaccination did not result in younger age at first intercourse. Women who received the HPV vaccine before or at the same age as sexual debut did not have more sexual partners than did non-vaccinees. Non-use of contraception during first intercourse was more common among non-vaccinees than among HPV vaccinees. The results were similar for organized catch-up and opportunistic vaccinees.
Conclusion: Women who received the HPV vaccine before or at the same age as sexual debut did not subsequently engage more in sexual risk taking behaviour than women who did not receive the HPV vaccine.
Keywords: Adolescent health; Cervical cancer; First intercourse; HPV; Risk compensation; Sexual behaviour.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.