Vaccination Has Led to Marked Decline in HPV Prevalence in Young Women

By Cara Adler |Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH

NEJM Journal WatchSix years after the introduction of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (4vHPV), the prevalence of the 4vHPV types (6, 11, 16, and 18) dropped 64% in girls aged 14 to 19, according to a Pediatrics study.

Using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, researchers compared HPV prevalence in females aged 14 to 34 in the years before (2003–2006) and after (2009–2012) 4vHPV vaccine was introduced.

Some 51% of participants aged 14 to 19 reported receiving at least one vaccine dose, and 35% received three doses. Between the periods, prevalence of 4vHPV types (based on self-collected cervicovaginal swabs) decreased from 12% to 4% among participants aged 14 to 19 and from 19% to 12% among those aged 20 to 24. Prevalence of nonvaccine HPV types did not change.

Dr. Alain Joffe of NEJM Journal Watch Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine comments, “these results clearly demonstrate that HPV vaccination reduces the prevalence of HPV types related to the development of cervical cancer. Studies have shown that a strong recommendation from providers to vaccinate is a key variable in parental acceptance of the vaccine. Based on the substantial body of evidence, there is no reason for providers to shy away from making such a recommendation.”
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