News / Health

US: Cervical Cancer Vaccines Cut Rates of HPV Infections

New Studies: HPV Vaccine More Effective Than Expectedi
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
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

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs