HPV vaccine shows promise

An HPV vaccination program in Australia appears to have resulted in a drop in cervical lesions among young women.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Jun 22, 2011

CDC, JAMES GATHANY

For diseases that are slow to spread and develop, it's not always easy to tell if a vaccine is effective. But just 3 years into an HPV vaccination program in the Australian state of Victoria, young women are showing lower rates of cervical lesions, according to a new study published online last week (June 17) in The Lancet.

After the HPV vaccine was licensed in 2006, Australia became the first country to initiate a national program the following year, delivering as many vaccines as possible to women 12 to 26 years old. The new study is the first to compare the incidence of cervical abnormalities among women and girls before and after the vaccine program began. The results revealed that high-grade cervical abnormalities, such as precancerous cellular changes, were about half as common in girls under the age of 18 after the vaccine was introduced—0.42 percent...

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