HPV Rates Are Decreasing in Young Women

By Author: Unknown photographer/artist Source: Laboratory of Tumor Virus Biology (NIH-Visuals Online# AV-8610-3067) [Public doma

The Gardasil vaccine to prevent human papilloma virus or HPV, has drastically reduced the number of young women across the country who are contracting the virus, according to findings released in the journal Pediatrics. Since the vaccine was introduced a decade ago, the virus’ prevalence has decreased by 34 percent in females in their early 20s and by 64 percent in women in their late teens.

The Vaccine

Gardasil is scientifically engineered to prevent cervical cancer caused by different strains of the human papilloma virus. The vaccine targets the four strains of HVP that cause a majority of cancer cases in women and it protects against anal cancer and genital warts.

Lauri Markowitz, lead study author, told USA Today, “We are seeing exactly what we would expect—that the first impact would be seen in the youngest age groups, and then as they age into older age groups, we would see an impact on young women. But we would see greater impact with greater vaccine coverage.”
She predicts a “continued decrease” as younger women move into older age groups. Despite the promising findings, Gardasil has encountered resistance from parents who think it will promote sexual promiscuity in young girls and doctors who are hesitant to recommend it. Rhode Island’s mandate that all girls and boys across the state be vaccinated in 2015, led to protesting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 80 million people are currently infected with the human papilloma virus in America, and around 14 million people, including teenagers, who contract the virus each year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 12 get the vaccine. The CDC added a new version of Gardasil that treats 9 strains of HVP.

Benefits of Gardasil Vaccine

All of the HPV vaccines can help prevent infection by HPV types 16 and 18, and it helps prevent cervical cancer. Gardasil and Gardasil 9 have been proven to prevent anal, vulvar and vaginal cancers and pre-cancers linked to these specific types of the human papilloma virus. The vaccines also prevent genital and anal warts by preventing infection with HPV 6 and 11. Gardasil 9 also protects against 5 other high-risk strains of the human papilloma virus 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.

These vaccines are only effective in individuals who have not already been exposed to the above strains of HPV. The vaccines will not prevent HPV in those who have already had these specific types of the virus.

It is also possible that the vaccine could help prevent other types of HPV-related cancers, including some cancers of the neck, head and penis. It will be some time before research studies can prove if the vaccine will help in the prevention of these cancers.


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