Numbers show vaccine helps reduce HPV cases

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by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 20 at 6:41 PM

AUSTN -- The HPV vaccine remains controversial, however, numbers recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing the vaccine's effectiveness could help quell some of the skepticism.
 
Cases of human papillomavirus, or HPV, have decreased 56 percent in young girls since the vaccine was first introduced in 2006 according to the CDC.

"This is very exciting news," said Jennifer Mushtaler, M.D., an obstetrician and gynecologist with Capital OB/GYN Associates of Texas at St. David's Women's Center. "We're seeing that reduction in risk cancers for our young women, which is very important and the reduction is greater than anticipated."

CDC officials admit they were surprised by the vaccine's effectiveness, and so too were University of Texas students KVUE spoke to.

"I remember it was just a few years ago that people started talking about it," said Wynne Davis, a UT student. "There was really the push and all the ads on television for it, but I didn't expect it to drop that quickly."

"It is a really significant decrease," said Angela Lin, a UT student. "With all the current medical breakthroughs and progress in science and technology and everything, I guess it really doesn't surprise me."

The only disappointing news according to the CDC is that only 50 to 60 percent of young women are getting the vaccine. The agency was hoping that number would be closer to 80 percent. Dr. Mushtaler says there's still a bit of a disconnect over the value of the vaccine.

"Because we're vaccinating for diseases that are transmitted sexually the message can get confused about the intent of the vaccine," she said. "The intent of the vaccine is to help protect young people from (certain) types of cancers no matter when they choose to become sexually active."

Mushtaler says the vaccine is now being recommended for girls and boys -- girls ages 11 to 26 and boys ages 11 to 21. Dr. Mushtaler says early research has shown there's a higher rate of immunity when children are vaccinated at a younger age.

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