Study Proves Cervical Cancer Vaccine’s Long-Term Effectiveness
A new study has shown that the Cervarix vaccine, which protects against the Human Papilloma virus, lasts for more than 6 years.
Human Papimoma Virus is responsible for the majority of cases of cervical cancer, as well as genital warts. The British government recently launched a campaign to get all girls aged under 18 vaccinated against HPV. The virus is transmitted through sexual contact but the vaccine, when administered before the patients become sexually active, can offer protection.
Scientists from the University of New Mexico analysed data on over 1,000 women aged between 15 and 25, who at the start of the study had normal cervical cells and no signs of HPV.
They discovered that at the end of the 6-year study period, which saw the 700 women who completed the study screened every six months, the short term effectiveness against the two strains of HPV the vaccine protected against was 100%, while against longer-term infections efficacy was 95%.
The UK government awarded the contract for the HPV vaccination program to Cervarix manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline partly based on previous evidence that the vaccine offered longer-term protection that that offering by their competitors, Sanofil-Aventis, who manufacture Gardasil.
However there has been some criticism about that decision, as Gardasil also offers protection against 90% of genital warts, which Cervarix does not. In a recent article in the weekly journal Private Eye, an anonymous doctor said that he would be giving his daughters Gardasil.
While genital warts are often overlooked as a sexually transmitted disease, the condition can be very distressing. Passed on through sexual contact, sufferers develop unsightly warts around their genital region. The virus can never be totally killed, though creams such as Warticon and Aldara can offer some relief and ensure that the warts are not long-lasting. Both Warticon and Aldara are topical creams.
However while cases of genital warts have been increasing, there has been a lot of media attention focused on cervical cancer, which has high mortality rates due to frequently late diagnosis. Ultimately, the decision over which vaccine is better rests with the girls and their parents, as Gardasil is available privately for those who prefer to have protection against genital warts, rather than a longer-lasting effectiveness time.
Abigail Lewin is writer specialising in sexual health and lifestyle issues. If you are interested in genital warts and genital warts treatment like Aldara and Warticon, she has written pages providing information about these and other health conditions.