The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was only introduced a decade ago, but has already led to a whopping 64 per cent decrease in HPV infections among teenage girls.
According to a new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, there was a two-thirds reduction in HPV among females aged 14 to 19 within six years of the vaccine’s introduction, and a 34 per cent decrease among those between the ages of 20 and 24 who were given the vaccine.
These are amazing statistics, and yet only 40% of females in the correct age groups have had the required three shots to date, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the UK.
For the study, CDC scientists analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and looked at data from 2003 to 2006, as well as 2009 to 2012. They then compared HPV prevalence among females in both of those groups.
Before the vaccine became available, the rates of vaccine-preventable strains of HPV was 18.6 per cent among sexually active 14 to 24 year olds. In comparison, after the vaccine was introduced, the prevalence dropped to 2.1 per cent among those who got vaccinated – only dipping to 16.9 per cent among those who didn’t get vaccinated.
“This finding extends previous observations of population impact in the United States and demonstrates the first national evidence of impact among females in their 20s,” explains lead study author, Dr Lauri Markowitz, to Reuters. “HPV vaccination has the potential to prevent up to three out of four HPV-associated cancers.”
The HPV vaccine is typically administered in three doses. It is available free of charge from the HSE here in Ireland for all girls in 1st year of second level school.
What is HPV?
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.
Most HPV infections don’t cause symptoms and go away on their own, but HPV is a leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide.
HPV vaccination has the potential to prevent up to three out of four HPV-associated cancers.
Did YOUR teenagers have the HPV vaccine yet? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie