Conditions

HPV Vaccination Reduces the Risk of Infection in Vaccinated and Unvaccinated

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Center (CDC), genital human papillomavirus also known as HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The virus is also responsible for cervical cancer but a new study demonstrates the vaccine may be able to reduce the virus in immunized and non-immunized teens and adults.

The study that was conducted by Jessica Kahn, MD, MPH, physician in the division in Adolescent Medicine at Cincinnati Children, revealed women who received the HPV vaccine reduced their possibility of contracting the infection by 69 percent. While in other woman who never received an HPV shot their chances on contracting the infection decreased by 49 percent, possibly indicating herd immunity. This kind of immunity occurs when a large population within a community of individual gets vaccinated or protection from an infectious disease. This causes less people to be at risk for spreading the disease thus reducing the chances of non-vaccinated individuals from getting the disease.

The study consisted of two separate groups. The first group of participants, which was conducted between 2006 and 2007, comprised of 368 teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 16 in the city of Cincinnati. Each young woman was exposed to sexual contact but never received vaccination. The second group, which was conducted between 2009 and 2010, included 409 young girls of the same age bracket, but had received at least one dose of vaccination.

Though Dr. Kahn believes this vaccination is quite successful, she still urges all women between the ages of 11 and 26 become vaccinated to reduce the many health risks cause by HPV including cervical cancer.

Since 2006, when the first HPV vaccine was authorized for treatment in the United States, the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices advised the vaccination of adolescent girls and young women to lower the amount of women who are diagnosed with HPV and cervical cancer. According to the CDC, 12,000 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer, which more times than not are linked to HPV.

Dr. James Turner member of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Committee at the University of Virginia told ABC News there is an importance to continue to improve the vaccine to be able to combat the numerous viruses associated with HPV.

"I believe manufacturers are in Phase II studies of developing new vaccines that cover up to nine [types] of HPV, which if effective, will really enhance protection against HPV," he said.

The study was published in Pediatrics.

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