Anti-cancer shots will lead to more sex, feel parents

December 18th, 2008 - 11:22 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 18 (IANS) Fears that it will lead to runaway promiscuity are preventing use of anti-human papilloma virus by young women to protect them from genital warts and cervical cancer, according to a new study. Yale University researchers - Sanjay Basu, a Ph.D. candidate and Alison Galvani, assistant professor in the division of epidemiology of microbial diseases - studied how concerns about adolescent promiscuity and everyday economics lead many parents and guardians not to have their children treated.

The vast majority of those surveyed believed the risk of cervical cancer and genital warts (largely spread through sexual contact) is far lower with the HPV vaccine.

But the same group of 326 adults also thought adolescent sexual activity would nearly double among those receiving the vaccine. Concern about increased promiscuity was the single biggest factor in the decision not to vaccinate, according to the study.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the HPV vaccination be administered to girls aged between 11 and 12 years (and catch-up vaccinations to girls between 13 and 26).

But currently less than 25 percent of the target population has received even one of the three recommended vaccinations, far below the target needed to maximise the vaccine’s potential public health benefit.

An estimated 11,000 women in US alone were diagnosed in 2007 with invasive cervical cancer, said a Yale University statement.

Financial considerations also influenced people’s choices. The research found that even with health insurance and other financial assistance, the average family still had to spend $181 out of pocket to provide all three vaccinations.

The researchers estimated that the price of each vaccination would have to be cut by $55 per dose to significantly influence decision making in favour of the vaccine.

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