When use of the cervical cancer vaccine became widespread, some conservative parents and groups balked. Clearly, if girls were protected against one sexually transmitted disease, they’d throw caution to the wind and forget the other risks of sexual activity: pregnancy, for one, as well as all those other STDs the HPV shot doesn’t cover. Stupid girls (was the unwritten message).
But proving that when you empower a teen girl with knowledge about and respect for her own body, she’s more likely to take care of it, a new study out of the University of Manchester found that teen girls are smarter than those conservative groups give them credit for. When 553 girls who were offered the vaccine were surveyed, 80 percent said that getting the shot reminded them that there were risks to having unprotected sex.
Fourteen percent of girls thought the shot might lead them to take more risks, while six percent of the girls’ parents refused the vaccine. (Of that six percent, three percent of girls wanted it anyway.)
Since it’s apparently not “cost effective” for boys to get the vaccine, it’s more important than ever for girls — whether they’ll get the vaccine or not — to be educated on the best ways to protect themselves from STDs and pregnancy. Because even if you don’t plan on letting that happen until she’s married, kids have a way of making up their own minds about these things on their own.
Photo: Brian Hoskins, sxc.hu