An international team of scientists has published a study that says vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) significantly reduces the risk of a disease that often leads to cervical cancer.
Recall that HPV is a sexually transmitted virus. The most common and hazardous to health are the HPV16 and HPV18 types, as they can lead to tumor formation.
Indeed, strains 16 and 18 are dangerous to humans, as they can provoke the formation of cervical cancer, cancer of the anus in men and women, penis, and squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx. As a rule, the virus is sexually transmitted, but it can also be infected by the child during passage through the birth canal if the mother is a carrier of HPV, – Elena Pak, dermatovenerologist, told “Reedus”.
There is no cure for the virus, but in 2007 scientists created a vaccine that protects against HPV. Vaccinations are recommended for girls before puberty.
Men are only carriers of HPV, so they can infect their partners without even knowing about the disease. Women, as a rule, also do not know about the presence of a virus in themselves, since it usually does not cause any pathological manifestations.
However, recent research suggests that vaccinations should be given not only to girls, but also to adolescent boys. For example, a program to vaccinate boys against HPV from 2020 appeared in Sweden.
The new study involved two groups of women: those born in 1993, who were offered free HPV vaccinations at age 15, and those born in 1983, who did not receive the free HPV vaccine but could do it on their own.
The health of the patients was monitored for ten years. In the group born in 1993, 91% of women were vaccinated, and in the group born in 1983 – less than 0.1%. A precancerous condition called highly differentiated cervical intraepithelial neoplasia was found in 4% of women born in 1983 and 3% of women born in 1993.
Despite the small margin, the researchers reported that the detection of precancerous condition decreased by about 30% in the 1993 group.
In addition, scientists remind that HPV vaccination today is the only prophylactic agent in the world that guarantees complete protection against infection with especially dangerous types of human papillomavirus.