There has been a swathe of news reports highlighting the misunderstanding surrounding the HPV vaccine among the girls who have received it. In a recent survey carried out in the US it was found that almost 1 in 4 of those questioned thought that the vaccination would lower their risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections in addition to HPV and a number of these girls had not used a condom the last time they had engaged in sexual activity. The results of the survey are published in the Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
The HPV vaccine is offered to young girls at a stage in their lives when there is possibly much confusion surrounding the topic of sexual health and so the message needs to be clearer and education must start earlier, at least at the point of administration. The average age of the girls questioned were 17, having completed the three doses of the vaccine.
There is really no excuse for this level of ignorance amongst this population group. Girls of that age should not be vaccinated against anything without the healthcare provider explaining exactly what the vaccine will protect against.