The rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection among adolescent girls and young women have declined significantly since the release of a vaccine to prevent it in 2006, according to a study based on a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Specifically, 4 cancer-associated strains of HPV comparatively declined by 64% among females ages 14 to 19, comparing the 3 years before and after 2006. Also, these strains declined by 34% among women ages 20 to 24 in the same time frame.
Comparative rates in women age 25 to 34 did not fall, though the study’s authors notes that the vaccine initially was recommended for girls who were 11 and 12 years old. Few women in their mid-twenties from 2009 to 2012 received the vaccine.
According to the study, 51% of females received at least one dose of the vaccine between 2009 and 2012, along with 44% of women aged 19 to 21 years and 28% of women aged 22 to 26 years.
The CDC reports that about 79 million Americans currently have HPV, with 14 million new infections each year. Most sexually active men and women will be infected at some point in their lives without knowing it or developing symptoms, though cancer remains a risk.
From 1984 to 2004, oral and orapharyngeal cancers related to HPV have increased by 225%. Specifically, patients with the HPV-16 strain are 22 times more likely to develop a specific type of head and neck cancer.
Virginia and Rhode Island are the only states that require children to get the HPV vaccine, along with the District of Columbia. The CDC recommends vaccinations for all girls and boys ages 11 or 12, with catch-up vaccines recommended for males to age 21 and females to age 26.
The study, “Prevalence of HPV After Introduction of the Vaccination Program in the United States,” was published by Pediatrics.
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