The HPV vaccine has seen transmission rates of the disease decrease by 86 percent in women in England according to a new study. The study also suggests that if the vaccine was expanded to include men it could prevent thousands of cancer cases in Great Britain each year.
The study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases tracked the vaccination program which began in 2008 and looked at women between the ages 16 to 24-year-olds who were screened for chlamydia between 2010 and 2016 and tested for HPV DNA. The study says they "compared changes in type-specific (vaccine and nonvaccine) HPV prevalence over time and association with vaccination coverage. For women with known vaccination status, vaccine effectiveness was estimated."
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common STI. It is also one of the more difficult STIs to pin-point because a person can remain asymptomatic for years after having sex with someone who has it. Some risks of HPV include genital warts and cancer.
The health risks and new findings suggest every sexually active person — and even young girls and boys aged 11 to 12 — should receive the HPV vaccination. According to The Telegraph, “The HPV vaccine has almost completely wiped out infections in young women, and if expanded to men could prevent thousands of cancer cases in Britain each year.”
The data was collected by Public Health England regarding the decrease in those with HPV and published on their official blog as well as on Twitter adding, "Considering around 80 percent of all cervical cancers are caused by these types, this means we expect to see big reductions in cervical cancer in years to come.”
These results only apply to cis-gender women although Public Health England says, “Trans women (MTF) [people who were assigned male at birth] are eligible in the same way are elegible as it is for men who have sex with men (MSM) [suggesting they do not do separate studies on trans bodies] if their risk of getting HPV is similar to the risk of MSM who are eligible for the HPV vaccine. Trans men (FTM) who were assigned female at birth are eligible if they have sex with other men and are aged 45 or under. If trans men have previously completed a course of HPV vaccination as part of the girls' HPV vaccine program, no further doses are needed.”
Over 80 percent of people aged 15 to 24 have now been vaccinated in the UK and 80 million have received the vaccine worldwide.