HPV vaccine offers strong protection from genital warts

2010-07-22 22:50

HPV vaccine is now shown to offer strong protection against genital warts for up to four years. Certain types of HPV vaccine can not only protect against pre-cancerous growths of the cervix, but offer ongoing protection to 30 million women and men who acquire genital warts that are spread through sexual contact.

HPV is the virus responsible for sexually transmitted genital warts that can occur externally, around the anus, vaginal canal and cervix. The type of HPV virus that causes anogenital warts is considered low risk for cancer. According to the CDC, "HPV is so common that at least 50% of sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives." Other types of HPV put women at risk for cervical cancer and are considered high risk.

Researchers studied 17,622 women between age 16 and 26 who were enrolled in two studies between December 2001 and May 2003. Women given three doses of HPV vaccine for types 6, 11, 16 and 18 at day 1, month 2, and month 6 of the study were compared to women given a placebo. The women given HPV vaccine had an 83 percent reduction in genital warts. The vaccine also reduce neoplasia, or low grade lesions that may go undetected and eventually lead to cancer.

The researchers say "Low-grade cervical and vulvovaginal lesions are important from a public health perspective, as the diagnosis, follow-up, and treatment of these common lesions are associated with substantial patient anxiety, morbidity, and healthcare costs." Genital warts are low grade growths known as condyloma acuminata.

HPV vaccine for types 6, 11, 16 and 18 protected the women from genital warts for up to four years. The vaccine also reduced the growth of cervical growths by 30 percent and lesions of the vulva by 48 percent. HPV vaccine also reduced vaginal growths by 75 percent compared to women given placebo.

The scientists say “These lesions occur shortly after infection and a reduction in these lesions will be the earliest clinically noticeable health gain to be realised by HPV vaccination".

The study authors investigated HPV vaccine for genital wart protection and other growths that can occur in women. Until now the effect of the vaccine for preventing low grade lesions and warts was unknown.

HPV vaccine is now shown to provide protection against 70 percent of cervical cancers and offers strong protection against genital warts for up to four years. HPV vaccine is not yet recommended for men, but

BMJ

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