A group of experts has said that fifteen years of extensive vaccination of children with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the US is reaping big returns now. Recently, a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown enough evidence that the HPV vaccine is able to protect those young women as well, who have not been vaccinated with the HPV vaccine yet. The report has found that the incidents of human papillomavirus have reduced in both vaccinated and unvaccinated young girls and women. Experts have said that a national database has shown that there has been an 88 percent decline in the prevalence of HPV variants that are targeted by the vaccine in girls in the age range of 14 to 19 years.
Around 81 percent reduction has been seen in the frequency of HPV strains in young women who are in the age group of 20 to 24 years as compared to a time span before 2006. A vaccine for HPV has been launched in the US before 2006, said the CDC officials. The lead author of the study, Dr. Hannah Rosenblum, who is a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, has said that the findings of the study are quite encouraging. The findings of the study reveal that there has been a similar huge drop in a range of deadly issues that are linked to HPV infection such as cancers of the cervix, anogenital areas, mouth, and anogenital warts as well.
Experts from the CDC have said that it seems that herd immunity against HPV infection has set in, as benefits of widespread HPV vaccination have been extended to women who have never been vaccinated with the HPV vaccine. Human papillomavirus or HPV is touted as the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US. However, certain types of HPV strains can lead to cervical cancer among women and head and neck and penile cancer in men said the experts. It can lead to anal cancer in both men and women. In the US, nearly 23.4 million men and 19.2 million women have been infected with HPV variants linked to cancer in 2018. Most of them have developed the infection during their teens or in the early 20s.
The CDC has suggested two doses of the HPV vaccine for girls and boys at the age of 11 to 12 years; however, they can be vaccinated at the age of 9 years as well. Dr. Hannah Rosenblum from the CDC has said that as per the 2019 data, around 72 percent of girls in the age range of 13 to 17 years have been vaccinated with one or more doses of the HPV vaccine, while 54 percent of them have completed their vaccine regime. Experts have looked at the data of the National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to assess the effect of the HPV vaccine. The NHANES is an ongoing cross-sectional survey that is being done by the National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC. The National Center for Health Statistics assesses the health and nutrition of the general population.
Experts have obtained demographic and HPV vaccination details during home interviews. They have taken the data of sexual behavior through audio computer-aided self-interviews. While mobile examination centers have helped in the self-collection of cervicovaginal samples. The data has shown that there has been a nearly 97 percent decline in HPV strains targeted by the vaccine from 2015 to 2018 in sexually active young girls in the age range of 14 to 19 years, who have been vaccinated with one shot as compared to pre-vaccine age. There has been an 86 percent drop in HPV strains in sexually active women in the age range of 20 to 24 years, who have been given just one shot of the vaccine as compared to the pre-vaccine era.
There has been a significant decline in HPV strains in sexually active teens and young women, who have not been vaccinated as compared to a time before 2006. Experts have said that incidents of HPV strains that are targeted by the vaccine have dropped by 87 percent in unvaccinated sexually active girls, who have been in the age group of 14 to 19 years. At the same time, there has been a 65 percent decline in cases of HPV strains in unvaccinated women who have been in the age group of 20 to 24 years. Sr. Stephanie Blank, who is the director of the oncology department at the Mount Sinai Health System, has said that during the clinical trial of the vaccine, it is impossible to do a study for 10 years but the findings of this study show the real-time effect of the vaccine. She has said that more people should get the HPV vaccine as more people receive the vaccine, the better it will be. It is primary prevention for cervical cancer, said the expert.
Dr. Robert Ferris, the director of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh has said that this vaccine can prevent anal and throat cancers, therefore more and more people should take advantage of this vaccine. The CDC has said that herd immunity takes place when more than adequate numbers of people are immune to the disease via either vaccination or prior infection. This way people who are not inoculated as well have some protection against the disease. Experts have said that some parents do not understand the advantage of vaccinating their 12-year-old boys to prevent a sexually transmitted disease (STD) rather they compare it with giving their teenage boys a condom. They have said that parents need to understand that the vaccine not only prevents STDs but it prevents cancer as well.