Remember those three Gardasil injections you may have endured because it was claimed they’d prevent the Human Papillomavirus? Well, you can now rest safe in the knowledge that the pain of the stabbing needle was totally worth it. A new US study has revealed that the vaccine has cut the rate of HPV infections in young women by half.
The study, commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that since 2006, when the vaccine was introduced, the rate of HPV infections among girls aged 14-to-19 has decreased from 7.2 to 3.6 percent.
“These are striking results. They should be a wake-up call that we need to increase vaccination rates,” said Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The bottom line is this: It is possible to protect the next generation from cancer, and we need to do it.”
The vaccine protects against HPV, which can cause genital warts. It’s a common virus that can affect both ladies and gents and is passed on through sexual contact. It can then stay in the body and potentially cause changes in cells that could lead to cancer.
Australia introduced the HPV vaccine in 2007 and has seen a 93 percent drop in in genital wart diagnoses in women who have been vaccinated. "The most vaccinated group going through our clinics, Australian-born women under the age of 21, had quite a remarkable decline of 93 per cent in the prevalence of warts," said Professor Basil Donovan from the University of New South Wales, who conducted research on the impact of the programme in Australia.
"These are exciting times in the science of HPV, and the world can confidently look forward to the virtual elimination of genital warts, recurrent laryngeal papilloma, most genital cancers, and some 60 per cent of neck and head cancers," added Donovan.
Now scientists are looking towards a male vaccination. A world free from cancer? Let’s hope that we’re getting closer to a cure!