Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the nation. About 75 percent of Americans will contract the virus during their lifetime, and younger populations face the greatest risk.

Research indicates that almost three quarters of new HPV infections occur in people between 15 and 24 years old. But a recent study conducted by researchers at Texas State University found that many college students are unaware of or misinformed about the risks posed by HPV.

Giving the human papillomavirus vaccine to teenage girls doesn't increase the likelihood that they will be sexually active, according to a new study.

That may help put parents at ease; the notion of vaccinating 11- and 12-year-old girls for a sexually transmitted virus has made some uncomfortable, and is one reason why only a little more than half of teenage girls have had the vaccine.

Pediatricians Recommend HPV Vaccination For Boys

Feb 27, 2012

The leading group of U.S. pediatricians says it's now time for boys, as well as girls, to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidance to parents and doctors in favor of routine immunization for boys against the virus.

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / Gage Skidmore / Ed Uthman

On the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Rick Perry has explained his much-maligned effort to make the human papillomavirus vaccine mandatory for school-aged girls by saying he hates the cervical cancer it causes and will “always err on the side of savings lives.”

Yet he gets some of his biggest applause in early primary states when he brags of signing a state budget that largely defunds Planned Parenthood — which provides four times more cervical cancer screenings every year in Texas than abortions.

The most dramatic moment of the GOP debate in Florida last Monday revolved around Gov. Rick Perry and his 2007 executive order mandating that all 11- and 12-year-old girls in Texas get the HPV vaccine. The human papillomavirus vaccine protects women and teens against a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer.

During the debate, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann called Perry's executive order an example of crony capitalism.

If nothing else, the controversy over Texas Gov. Rick Perry's mandating the use of the human papillomavirus vaccine in 12-year old girls, demonstrates the pronounced contradictions in his professed world view.

The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination accepts the scientific consensus when it comes to the safety and efficacy of the vaccine that prevents the HPV virus that causes cervical and other cancers.

But he has openly expressed doubts about the scientific consensus in the matters of evolution or the human role in global warming.