PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new study shows that efforts to combat a prevalent sexually transmitted disease via vaccinations are working.
The research, which was published in the June issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to compare the proportion of women aged 14-59 with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) before the start of the vaccine initiative in 2006 with the prevalence of the disease after the introduction of the vaccine.
The results revealed that since the HPV vaccine was introduced, cases of the disease decreased by 56 percent among females between the ages of 14 and 19.
“This report shows that HPV vaccine works well, and the report should be a wake-up call to our nation to protect the next generation by increasing HPV vaccination rates,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H in a release. “Unfortunately only one third of girls aged 13-17 have been fully vaccinated with HPV vaccine. Countries such as Rwanda have vaccinated more than 80 percent of their teen girls. 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. For every year we delay in doing so, another 4,400 girls will develop cervical cancer in their lifetimes.”
The CDC says that about 79 million Americans – most of whom are in their late teens or early 20s – are infected with HPV. The disease causes an estimated 19,000 cancers in women each year and about 8,000 in men.
Vaccination against HPV is recommended for both girls and boys at age 11-12, but recent national immunization surveys show only about half of girls in the U.S. and far less boys received the first dose. Older teens and young adults should also get vaccinated.
For more on the study, visit: http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent or www.cdc.gov/hpv