HPV Shot for Girls Remains Controversial

USA TODAY, February 2009 | Go to article overview

HPV Shot for Girls Remains Controversial


The opinions of mothers concerning sexual matters do not play a significant role in their decisions about whether their daughters should receive a vaccine against a sexually transmitted virus, according to a study by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. The findings refute the contention that some mothers refuse to let their daughters get the HPV vaccine because they oppose sex before marriage.

The study's lead author, Susan Rosenthal, professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Adolescent and Behavioral Health, says this is one of the first studies to look at acceptance of the HPV vaccine. The vaccine Gardasil became available in 2007 after it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

"There has been much discussion about the role of sexual values on decisionmaking regarding this vaccine, but nobody had looked at these relationships in a scientific manner," contends Rosenthal.

This study examined mothers' attitudes towards the vaccine soon alter it became available. The research demonstrates that mothers make decisions about the vaccine based on their parenting, the mothers' sense of their own vulnerability to a sexually transmitted infection, and practical issues such as whether their daughters would mind getting the shots. …

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