The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine used to protect against the sexually transmitted virus linked to cervical cancer also gives protection against genital warts, a study found.

According to the findings published in the July 21 online edition of BMJ, the vaccine, which is currently being used to fight HPV mainly, can help prevent a number of sexually transmitted disease.

The researchers estimate over 500,000 women will get a cervical cancer caused by the virus each year. The same virus causes warts in the genital area and cervical growths. As many as 30 million people have the condition each year, the researchers said.

A trial showed that the HPV vaccine helps prevent genital warts and low-grade cervical growths. In the randomized control trial, 17,622 young women from 24 different countries who took the vaccine or a placebo over a six month period, showed a much lower incident of developing warts and tumors.

The study authors wrote, the vaccine "provided strong and sustained protection" for four years against various types of warts and low-grade female genital growths.
Health officials recommend vaccination for young women and girls. Although the vaccine is not licensed for boys, experts believe that vaccination will prevent acquisition of HPV and genital warts among boys as well.