HPV success tracked
A new study suggests some nations are on track to eliminate cervical cancer.
A global study has investigated the success of the HPV vaccine in protecting women.
The jab protects against human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted illness that can cause cervical cancer and anogenital warts.
Data from high-income countries shows an 83 per cent reduction in HPV infections in 15 to 19-year-old girls over five to eight years. Infections are down 66 per cent among women aged 20 to 24 in rich nations.
The research, published in the Lancet, is expected to boost the determination of the World Health Organization (WHO) in its goals for reducing the number of cases of cervical cancer to no more than four per 100,000 population.
Researcher Professor Marc Brisson said: “We’re working with the WHO, using mathematical modelling to determine when elimination would occur”.
“We don’t have a precise date. High vaccine coverage has to be maintained. It depends on the country and how much coverage and screening there is, and how many cohorts have been vaccinated.”
The paper only looked at studies from in high-income countries without significant opposition to the vaccine.
In Denmark, Ireland and a few other European countries, misinformation about HPV vaccine risks led to a drop in vaccination rates.
There is also no data from less wealthy countries, where around 80 per cent of cervical cancer deaths occur.
“What we see is that in many low- to middle-income countries, there is no vaccine at all,” said Professor Brisson.
“These are the countries with the highest burden of cervical cancer. The results show that the vaccines are working towards preventing cervical cancer, so I hope that we will be able in coming years to increase vaccination coverage in many of the countries that need it most.”