Reduction in HPV following introduction of immunisation programme
A reduction in two HPV types that can commonly cause cervical cancer has been found for sexually active young women in England.
Each year around 2,000-2,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England. It is the most common cancer found in women under 35. Infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HR HPV) types 16 and 17 is found to be responsible for around 70-80 per cent of cervical cancers.
Public Health England (PHE) has presented data that shows that the prevalence of HPV infection in 16-18 year olds has gone from one in 5 to one in 15 following the introduction of the immunisation programme.
Between 2010 and 2012, over 4,000 samples were collected from young women receiving a chlamydia screen (as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme in England).
The PHE study has showed a reduction in these two HR HPV types – which are included in the HPV vaccines used – in sexually active young women in England.
David Mesher, Public Health England, presenting the work at the conference, said: “This study provides an early indication that the national HPV immunisation programme is successfully reducing vaccine-type HPV infections in sexually active young women in England, and also suggests herd-immunity may be benefiting non-vaccinated young women and men”.
Post-immunisation prevalence of HPV types 16 and 18 infection was lowest among women aged 16 to 18 year old, the age group with the highest vaccination coverage.
Prior to the immunisation programme, this age group was shown to have the highest prevalence of infection.
Mesher added: “The data provides reassurance that the high efficacy against HPV infection in women reported in clinical trials can be effectively realised in practice, and in a programme achieving high coverage amongst young females. The data adds to our confidence that the HPV immunisation programme will achieve its aim of reducing cervical cancer”.
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