Vaccine credited with HPV virus reduction in Scotland

18 April, 2017, 01:58 | Author: Lorraine Moran
  • Vaccine credited with HPV virus reduction in Scotland

ONLY 75% of 15-year-old girls in Wide Bay have been fully vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, new figures show.

Immunising against HPV was crucial to help prevent a range of cancers. Men can also get penile HPV cancer. "Let's stop thinking about HPV [vaccine] as only a cervical cancer vaccine", said William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Although vaccination for HPV is not as widespread as health authorities would like it to be, studies have shown that it has led to a decline in the cases of infection since it was made available 11 years ago.

"Collectively, these data demonstrate the significant and continued benefits of the HPV vaccination programme in Scotland, which has achieved a consistent and high uptake of around 90 per cent in 12 to 13-year-old girls".

"We also know that HPV 16 and 18 can cause a number of other cancers, including vulvovaginal, anal and a subset of head and neck cancers".

'We tend to overlook the fact that 20 percent of us are carrying the virus that can cause cancer, ' lead author Geraldine McQuillan, a senior infectious disease epidemiologist at the CDC, told The Washington Post.

"You need to give it before kids become sexually active, before they get infected", Dr. McQuillan said.

While great progress has been made in creating HPV vaccines, current approaches to prevent infection have limitations. "Other types are considered high risk, causing cancer in different areas of the body including the cervix and vagina in women, penis in men, and anus and oropharynx [mouth and throat] in both men and women". The CDC report stated that HPV was lowest among "non-Hispanic Asian adults" while oral HPV was "highest among non-Hispanic black adults".

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Some types of HPV can cause genital warts and are considered low risk, with a small chance for causing cancer, the CDC report said.

Women are encouraged to get the vaccine up until the age of 26 and men until the age of 21.

Often, the cancer does not develop until years after a patient was infected with HPV.

The study found the prevalence of the sexually transmitted virus among young women has fallen by 90% since an immunisation drive began in 2008.

- It causes 99.4% of cervical cancer cases and 100% of genital warts cases.

By the time a sexually active person is in their early-20s, they've nearly certainly been exposed to HPV.

The CDC recommends HPV vaccinations for youth ages 11 to 12 so that they become protected before potential exposure to the virus through sexual contact.

Aside from getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself from HPV by always, always, using a condom - even if you're pretty sure your partner is monogamous.

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