Pre-teens need vaccine against sexually transmitted virus

According to a poll of doctors in the U.S., most would be prepared to give 11- and 12-year-old patients a vaccine to prevent infection with a sexually transmitted virus.

The survey by University of Colorado researchers was conducted as a result of concern on the part of practitioners, that many parents might refuse to vaccinate their children, for fear that the immunization might encourage risky sexual behavior in teenagers.

But it was found that only 11 percent of the pediatricians polled thought vaccination against a sexually transmitted disease would encourage promiscuous behavior.

The vaccine against the human papillomavirus, which causes most cervical cancers, may be licensed next year.

According to senior study author Nicole Liddon of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in order for the vaccine to be fully effective, it would probably need to be given to adolescents before they had any sexual encounters.

Liddon presented the survey results to an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in Atlanta.

Health officials in the U.S. have been considering giving the vaccine at age 11 or 12, or even earlier.

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