HPV Rate Drops Among Teen Girls, Doctors Give Credit To Vaccine

A recent study has shown that the HPV rate among teen girls has dropped by almost half and doctors are crediting the HPV vaccine.

A new study has shown that Infection with the viral strains that cause cancer dropped to 3.6 percent among girls ages 14 to 19 in 2010, from 7.2 percent in 2006, according to the New York Times.

Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said:

“These are striking results. They should be a wake-up call that we need to increase vaccination rates. The bottom line is this: It is possible to protect the next generation from cancer, and we need to do it.”

The study was published in the June issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases. The study covered the years between 2003 and 2010.

The New York Times reported:

“Its (the study’s) findings were based on a national survey that is conducted every two years and considered the gold standard on health indicators.

“Government health workers did face-to-face interviews and collected vaginal swabs from more than 8,000 girls and women ages 14 to 59 that were sent to the C.D.C. for evaluation.”

Health experts were still a little shocked by the results because vaccination rates are still relatively low in the U.S.

Only about one third of teenage girls have been vaccinated with the full course of three doses, which is far lower than in other countries such as Denmark and Britain, where vaccination rates are above 80 percent.

Health officials are told the New York Times that there is a variety of reason for why the drop in HPV cases was so sharp even though most teenage girls in the U.S. are not fully vaccinated.

“One possible reason is a phenomenon known as herd immunity, in which vaccinated people reduce the overall prevalence of the virus in society, reducing the chances that unvaccinated people would have sex with someone who is infected.

“Another is the unexpected effectiveness of a partial dosage of the vaccine, Dr. Markowitz said. About half of teenage girls in the United States have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.”

About 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV.

On average, each year close to 14 million people become infected with HPV, and the virus causes close to 19,000 cancers in women every year.

So while reports are saying that HPV rates among teen girls have dropped by almost half, it is still important to do more research on the vaccine so people can be more assured as to what they are putting into their bodies.

Image via Shutterstock/Ambrophoto]