HPV Vaccine and Cervical Cancer
A Single Dose of HPV Vaccine May Be Enough! For years, preteen boys and girls from the ages of 11 and 12 have been urged by their pediatricians to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV, Read more about HPV) vaccine. The vaccine is used for protection from most types cancers caused by HPV–a common virus that spreads between people when they have sexual contact.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, six million people, including teens, become infected with HPV (Click for the article) each year. In fact, it is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
HPV Vaccine, Is One Dose Enough?
The HPV infection is the primary cause of cervical cancer, which affects about 10,300 women in the United States each year. It causes about 275,000 deaths annually worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in low-income countries, according to the World Health Organization.
The vaccine has always been administered in three shots. That is, until recently.
According to a recent study (LINK), just one dose of the HPV vaccine Cervarix appears to provide enough of an immune response to protect women from two strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) and ultimately cervical cancer. “Cervical cancer is a major cause of public health concern, especially in less developed countries where about 85% of cervical cancer occurs,” says study author Mahboobeh Safaeian.
Safaeian and her team followed a group of women in Costa Rica who were participating in the National Cancer Institute-funded phase III clinical trial testing the efficacy of Cervarix.
About 20% of these women did not complete the three-dose vaccine regimen. Safaeian compared the groups of women who had received one, two or three doses of the vaccine, as well as women who had antibodies from having been naturally infected. The researchers found that women vaccinated with a single dose of Cervarix, as opposed to the current CDC recommendation of three, had antibodies against HPV that remained stable in their blood after four years.
The findings suggest that the common recommendation for three doses may not be necessary. Safaeian, a researcher for the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Infections and Immunoepidemiology, says this could have significant implications for women.
“This vaccine is about $130 a dose … It’s just not feasible in a lot of undeveloped countries,” Safaeian explained.
And as Dr. Kevin Ault, a physician and professor at the Emory University Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, emphasized, it is always easier to get people into the office for a one-time vaccination.