HPV Rate in Teen Girls Drops Over 60%
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States.
Generally, the virus goes away on its own, but in people with persistent infections, the virus can cause genital warts -- or even some types of cancer, including cancers of the cervix, penis, anus and oral cavity.
But there is very good news regarding the effectiveness of a vaccine introduced ten years ago. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that, within six years of the vaccine's introduction in 2006, the prevalence of HPV among girls ages 14 to 19 decreased by 64 percent.
The researchers looked at data on the percentage of teenage girls and young women infected with HPV between 2003 and 2006 -- just before the vaccine was introduced -- and then again between 2009 and 2012 — several years after introduction.
Before the vaccine, 11.5 percent of girls ages 14 to 19 were infected with HPV. That percentage dropped to 4.3 percent for the years between 2009 and 2012. Among women ages 20 to 24, the number dropped from 18.5 percent to 12.1 percent in the years after the vaccine.
But all the news isn’t positive. It seems that young people aren’t getting the vaccine in the numbers that researchers had expected. Data gathered by the CDC shows that just 42 percent of girls and 22 percent of boys ages 13 to 17 have received all three recommended doses of the vaccine.