banner
Health Team

New Vaccine Is Latest Weapon in Fight Against HPV

Posted February 27, 2007

WRAL Health Team
Researchers said the human papilloma virus (HPV) could lead to cervical cancer, but a new vaccine can help prevent it.

Dr. Ira Horowitz, of the Emory University School of Medicine, said he sees all sorts of patients who have HPV infections.

"I see teenagers who have had intercourse with just one person, all the way to women in their 80s who have been exposed to the virus and now have manifestations as abnormal pap smears and pre-cancerous lesions," he said.

Horowitz said he is not surprised by the findings of a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"We found that overall HPV prevalence among females in the United States, ages 14 to 59 years of age, was 26.8 percent and that means one in four women are infected with HPV," said Dr. Eilene Dunn, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used health data from more than 2,000 women ages 14 to 59, to estimate national HPV infection rates.

"The prevalence was highest among the 20- to 24-year old women. Almost half of those women were infected with HPV," Dunn said.

There are hundreds of kinds of HPV infections. Some can lead to cancer. The new vaccine covers two HPV types that cause most cervical cancer and two types that cause genital warts. She said 3.4 percent of women had infection with the types of HPV that could be prevented by the vaccine.

Officials said there are three ways to prevent HPV infection -- abstinence, condom or barrier use and the vaccine. Dunne said the number of HPV-infected women is likely even higher because the study only measured active infections.

Health experts said once you have the virus, you have it for life, even if you don't have an active infection.
15 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Neal Daughtry Jul 8, 4:56 p.m.
    user avatar

    Be careful with this vaccine. My 3 children had it and the oldest experienced the end of his tongue going numb. We discussed this with the doctor and he said the feeling might come back or not. It has NOT. Researched this on the net and found that some children experienced much worse paralysis. My other 2 were ok but no more HPV shots for my kids.

  • momnc Mar 4, 2007

    Ok folks...think about this...you have an 11 year old and you plan on telling her to wear condoms when she is sexually active one day...yes that is what she should do because of all the STDs, including AIDS which kills...but what if she is 25 and getting married? Is she suppose to wear condoms with her husband? Is she never suppose to have children of her own? What if he has HPV and doesn't know it and passes it on to her? She is then at risk for cancer. What is the harm of getting the vaccine AND wearing condoms? My dr said she would give it to her child. I am going to teach abstinence to my child, but hopefully one day she will be married and wanting kids...I would rather have that extra protection.

  • 2xMom Mar 3, 2007

    I work in a Gyn clinic that sees many teen girls, and I'm a mother to a 14 yr old daughter. You can get HPV (or any STD) after sexual activity w/ ONE partner ONE time! And that partner may not know he's infected! People don't always equate symptoms w/ a disease. Gyns can montior you closely and reduce your chances of getting cervical cancer if you have HPV..but that's reduce not prevent and do all Gyn's test everyone for HPV..nope! A vaccine to prevent HPV is an amazing step. Now will my daughter get it? Not right now. Too many FDA approved vaccines have had problems first time out. There has to be more indepth studies and proof for me to give it to my daughter..a step it is, an benign preventative? We'll see. As for the "just say No" option..education these kids truthfully and openly about STDs and they might just surprise you all! Remember being a teen,if an adult said "don't do it because I said so" how well did you listen. Forget mandating the shot...mandate TRUTHFUL OPEN EDUCATION

  • patriot Mar 2, 2007

    OK, education time. HPV causes 99.8% of all cervical cancers. HPV types 16 and 18 account for a vast majority of those cases. Both types 16 and 18 are in the vaccine, which by the way contains 4, not 3 of the "50+" types (actually it's closer to 100), and it has already been shown that there is cross protection to other strains of the virus because they are so similar. But, all that aside, even if it only protected against one type, it would be well worth it and would save lives. "Stop humping" is not a viable solution, and wearing a condom, while very wise has not been a practical solution for any other sexually transmitted disease and is not for HPV. There is a great reason for researching a preventable disease, because it saves lives. As much as you would like to you can't force your values on the rest of the world, those of us in the business of making drugs realize this and work very hard to protect and treat everyone that needs it.

  • wakeresident Mar 2, 2007

    Okay, you guys are forgetting something here. HPV is ONE cause of cervical cancer. There are 50+ strains of HPV and this vaccine covers... 3. I would not be happy if I had to vaccinate my little girl with that. You talk about protection from this virus. Stop humping people!! Or wear a condom!!! Promote abstinence, and stop claiming it's child abuse. You can promote it and say, look, if your'e going to be stupid, wear a condom. And dont' say "it can't happen to me"; go get a pap smear. They'll grow up to make their own decisions, and if it's to get the vaccine, that's great. They still need to wear a freakin condom, since there's no magic shot for any other deadly disease (like AIDS). I, for one, can't figure out why they're researching a vaccine for a PREVENTABLE disease.

  • patriot Mar 2, 2007

    If it's so easily monitored then why are there about 5000 deaths per year from cervical cancer in the US alone? The vaccine has been researched, that's why we have the FDA.

  • redsector Mar 2, 2007

    A death sentence? Please... HPV is easily detected with an annual pap smear. Women that are diligent about getting routine care will not carry around HPV undetected. I work in a gynecology office, and do you know how many people have had HPV develop into cervial cancer? Not one. A good physician will monitor your virus about twice a year and make sure it isn't developing. I never said, DON'T get the vaccine. I said it wasn't fair to mandate it to a little girl that has no say in the matter. Let that be a choice that her parents make. And I agree with the other poster- there isn't enough data yet to warrant mandating a vaccine that nobody has seen any data on yet. How about we dome some studies on it before we make it mandatory?

  • sherrycrissman2 Mar 1, 2007

    I don't think that they should mandate kids to get the vaccine, I think that they should offer it and say it's up to the parents and the child. Why wouldn't someone want to protect themself from the virus?? I got it from my first partner because HE DIDN'T KNOW he had it and if they would've had the vaccine I might not have gotten the virus. Life is a path you follow, you just choose which way to go. PROTECT YOURSELF, I wish I did..

  • tell.the.truth.and.run Mar 1, 2007

    Before everyone follows along like good little sheep, do a little research and see just how rushed this vaccine was, and how incomplete the data on side effects (do the words 'brain disorder' and 'rheumatoid arthritis' make you uneasy?)and length of efficacy is. Sure, get the nine-year-old the shots. And if you're lucky, by the time she's sexually active, maybe she'll still be protected. Nobody knows - there isn't enough data.

  • patriot Mar 1, 2007

    redsector, it is most certainly fair to make the vaccine mandatory. To propose an abstinance only metality to this situation is nothing short of child abuse. We all try to guide our children into healthy, moral lifestyles, but they all eventually grow up and make their own decisions. Would you really impose a death sentence on your daughter just because she makes different decisions than you would have her make? Also, for evey child we protect another one will be protected in the future (their future spouse, boyfriend, significant other).

More...