HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection, can lead to several types of cancers, including cervical. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, and there are about 14 million new cases every year. The virus is so common that virtually every sexually active man and woman will at one point come into contact with it, according to the CDC. Adolescent boys and girls are therefore the target population of the HPV vaccine, in order to protect them before they are exposed. The vaccine is relatively new (it was approved by the FDA in 2006), and the long-term effects had not been studied extensively, until now. The first long-term study analyzing the vaccine s safety, efficacy, and immunogenicity was recently published in Pediatrics and showed that there was continued protection and safety after eight years.
Dr. Daron Ferris, M.D. and colleagues set out to investigate the safety, immunogenicity, and effectiveness of a quadrivalent (HPV6/11/16/18) human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV4). In the study, about 1700 boys and girls between the ages of 9 to 15 years received either a HPV4 vaccine or a saline placebo on day 1 of the study, 2 months into the study, and 6 months into the study. Thirty months after the initial treatment, the group that received the placebo was given the HP4 vaccine.
The vaccination-induced anti-HPV response persisted after 8 years. In the early vaccination group, two cases of HPV-related disease were observed but both resolved within 12 months.In the later vaccination group, 4 cases of HPV18 infection persisted beyond 12 months. No significant serious adverse events were observed in the 96 months after the vaccination was administered.
Among those affected by the virus, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito recently revealed she had high-risk HPV. In her announcement via Twitter earlier this week, Mark-Viverito stated that her diagnosis lead her to understand her bigger responsibility to de-stigmatize and bring attention to this infection. She encouraged awareness for women s health and to prioritize the vaccination.
ACSH s Elizabeth Whelan says, This study goes further in arguing for the necessity of getting the HPV vaccine. The publication of this study coupled with the announcement by NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito bringing the HPV vaccine to the public s attention, we can only hope that more children will begin to receive this vaccination.