This week, The Journal of Infectious Diseases published a study looking at the number of human papillomavirus infections in females before and after HPV vaccine was created (back in ’06). The study found impressive results: a 56% decrease in HPV since the vaccine was introduced in 2006 (among girls between 14-19 years old). This is a big deal because HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US and causes about 27,000 cases of cancer each year in men and women – mainly cervical and throat cancer. The good news is that over 75% of these cancers are preventable because of the vaccine.
Interestingly, these dramatic results were achieved even though only 35% of girls had completed the three-dose HPV vaccine series (37% in AZ). If we could reach the 80% vaccination threshold we’d be able to prevent 50,000 cases of cervical cancer. More information about HPV, cancers caused by HPV, and vaccine recommendations are available on CDCs HPV website.