Ten years ago, the human papillomavirus vaccination was introduced in an attempt to reduce the occurrence of HPV. Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are found to be due to the HPV virus as well as other cancers such as anal, vaginal and oral. The vaccine Gardasil by Merck, introduced in 2006, protects against four types of HPV.
In a new study published in Pediatrics, researchers compared the rates of HPV in female teens before they received the quadrivalent vaccine (2003–2006) and four years after (2009–2012) according to age group.
“Among girls 14 to 19 years old, rates of infection with the four types of HPV included in the 4vHPV vaccine decreased from 11.5% to 4.3%. There was also a drop, although smaller, in women 20 to 24 years old, from 18.5% to 12.1%. Among the older groups, women ages 25 to 29 and 30 to 34, the prevalence of these HPV types did not change and was about 12% and 9%, respectively,” reported CNN.
This equaled a 64 percent reduction among females aged 14 to 19 years, and a 34 percent decrease among those aged 20 to 24 years.
Dr. Lauri E. Markowitz, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC and lead author of the study told CNN, "Eventually we expect to see decreases in HPV in older groups as women who were young (enough to get the vaccine) age."
Despite the fact that only about 40 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys are immunized here in the United States, the study shows that vaccination has made an impact on the incidence of HPV.
The difficulty in getting more young people vaccinated is due to a number of issues.
For full coverage, three shots are currently required.
1) HPV Sharply Reduced in Teenage Girls Following Vaccine, Study Says. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
2) Cancer-causing HPV plummeted in teens since vaccine, study finds. CNN.com. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
3)The HPV Vaccine Is Working, But Why Are So Many Teens Still Not Getting It? Forbes. Retrieved February 22, 2016.