HPV Vaccine Making Headway Against Cancer-Causing Virus Worldwide

CDC panel recommends HPV vaccine for men through age 26 and for some older adults

CDC panel recommends HPV vaccine for men through age 26 and for some older adults

The first HPV vaccine was licensed in 2007 and now dozens of countries around the world, including Canada, have adopted vaccination programs to protect young people.

In addition, they reported an 83% decrease among 13- to 19-year-old girls and and a 66% decrease among women in their early 20s five to eight years after vaccination.

Vaccination against the virus that causes nearly all cervical cancer is having a major impact on stopping infections and should significantly reduce cases of the disease within a decade, researchers said on Wednesday.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said the findings "clearly showed" the impact of HPV vaccination.

Substantial falls have also been seen in pre-cancerous lesions among women, and in genital warts among men and women in the generation which has been vaccinated, the study found.

Christopher Zahn, vice president for practice activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said the study presents further evidence that "confirms the efficacy of HPV vaccinations". HPV vaccination has only been available for 10 years, so the effect on cancers is not yet known, although it is predicted they will also drop significantly.

The votes were made during a meeting at the CDC in Atlanta.

In a separate measure, the advisory committee voted to recommend catch-up vaccinations for older adults ages 27 though 45.

At least 115 countries and territories include HPV vaccine in their immunization programs, and almost 40 low- and middle-income countries are expected to do so by 2021.

Public health experts agree that for adults up to age 45, the decision to get the vaccine should be based on each person's sexual experiences and expectations, and should be discussed with his or her doctor.

It also showed people who were not vaccinated benefited.

The HPV vaccine is usually given to 11- and 12-year olds, to protect them before their first exposure to sexually transmitted viruses. It targets girls aged 10 to 14, who will get two doses each in the arm.

Statistics released a year ago by the International Agency for Research on Cancer showed cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in Kenya. In 2013, the program was expanded to include boys.

Public health experts blame access, education and health-care providers who have shown reluctance in recommending the vaccine as strongly as required vaccinations.

Deanna Kepka, an assistant professor in the college of nursing at the University of Utah and an investigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute, said the issue is the way the vaccine was introduced - as a vaccine to protect girls from sexually transmitted disease, rather than one to protect everyone from cancer.

The doctors also argue that more than 90 percent of HPV infections are destroyed by the body's natural immunity, making the mass vaccination exercise pointless. Cases decreased 67% among 15- to 19-year-old girls and 48% in boys; 54% in 20- to 24-year-old women and 32% in men; and 31% in 25- to 29-year-old women.

Schmeler, the gynecological oncologist, encouraged parents to have their children vaccinated, adding, "I spend my days taking care of women with cancer, many of whom die of the disease".