The sexual history of a woman is not an accurate indicator in determining whether or not she should receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Furthermore, using this as the standard is likely to vaccinate many women already infected with the HPV virus and miss young women who might benefit most from the vaccine.
“Selectively vaccinating women based on risk factors alone would mean that more than 2 million women, ages 18 to 26, who had the potential to derive the most benefit from HPV vaccination because they weren't already infected, would miss out on getting the vaccine,” states study lead author Amanda F. Dempsey, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, a member of the CHEAR Unit team in the Division of General Pediatrics at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
According to the researchers, there is confusion about vaccination guidelines. The American Cancer Society recommends vaccinating all females younger than 18, and selectively vaccinating women ages 19 to 26 based on an informed discussion between the patient and her doctor about sexual history. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices, recommends universal vaccination for all women ages 11 to 26, regardless of sexual experience. For more information, read Sexual History Shouldn’t Guide HPV Vaccination.