News / Health

US: Cervical Cancer Vaccines Cut Rates of HPV Infections

New Studies: HPV Vaccine More Effective Than Expectedi
X
June 21, 2013 12:29 AM
A vaccine to protect against the human papilloma virus, and the cancers it can cause, has been debated in the United States because the only way someone can contract the virus is by having sex with an infected partner. But despite the moral, ethical and political issues surrounding this vaccine, VOA's Carol Pearson says new studies show it is working.
New Studies: HPV Vaccine More Effective Than Expected
Reuters
The U.S. introduction of a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer in 2006 has reduced infections with the human papillomavirus or HPV - the sexually-transmitted virus that causes the disease - by more than half among girls and young women, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday.
 
The results were better than expected and may even suggest that unvaccinated individuals are benefiting because of a drop in the number of infections circulating, the team reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
 
“This report shows that HPV works well, and the report should be a wake-up call to our nation to protect the next generation by increasing HPV vaccination rates,” Dr Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement.
 
Frieden said only a third of U.S. girls aged 13-17 have been fully vaccinated with HPV vaccines, which include Merck's Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix.
 
That compares with far higher vaccination rates in other countries such as Rwanda, where more than 80 percent of teenage girls have been vaccinated.
 
“Our low vaccination rates represent 50,000 preventable tragedies - 50,000 girls alive today will develop cervical cancer over their lifetime that would have been prevented if we reach 80 percent vaccination rates,” Frieden said.
 
In the study, a team led by the CDC's Dr. Lauri Markowitz used data from a large health survey to compare rates of infection with certain strains of the HPV virus among girls and women aged 14-19 in the four-year period before the introduction of the vaccine (2003-2006) and after its introduction (2007-2010).
 
The study largely reflects the impact of Merck's Gardasil. In 2006 it became the first HPV vaccine to win U.S. approval.
 
Gardasil protects against four HPV strains known to cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Glaxo's Cervarix won U.S. approval in 2009 and protects against two of the most common cancer-causing strains of HPV.
 
The researchers found the vaccine worked even better than expected, reducing by 56 percent the number of infections caused by strains of HPV covered by the vaccine among women and girls aged 14-19.
 
Markowitz said the higher than expected response rate could be the result of so-called “herd immunity,” in which the vaccine is also reducing infections among those who are not vaccinated. Or it could mean that the vaccine was working even among women who had not received the full three doses, which included about 49 percent of women in the study.
 
The CDC recommends routine HPV vaccination for boys and girls at age 11-12. But only about half of all U.S. girls have gotten at least one of the three recommended shots, and far fewer boys have gotten the first dose of the vaccine.
 
According to the CDC, HPV infections cause about 19,000 cancers each year among women in the United States, of which cervical cancer is the most common. HPV infections also cause about 8,000 cancers a year in U.S. men, of which throat cancers are the most common.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More