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The HPV Vaccine: Is It Working Yet?

The HPV Vaccine: Is It Working Yet?

Originally published on May 10, 2012, on bedsider.org

Weíve called†HPV (human papillomavirus) the common cold of the sexually active worldóbut just because itís common doesnít mean itís not worth preventing when possible. While there are 40 different strains of the virus, only a couple of them are the major cause of cervical cancer (types 16 and 18) and most genital warts (types 6 and 11). In 2006, young women in the U.S. started using a vaccineóGardasilóthat protects against those four types of HPV. We know from studies that the vaccine works well for a single woman, but itís still too soon to tell whether we’ll be able to see a large-scale effect in the U.S. overall. Cervical cancer usually develops many years after a woman first contracts HPV, and itís only been six years since the vaccine became available. It will be another decade or more before we can say whether using the vaccine reduces the number of women with cervical cancer.

Genital warts, on the other hand, usually develop within a few weeks or months after exposure to one of the HPV strains that causes them. So itís pretty exciting that a new†study from the California Department of Public Health suggests that there may be a decrease in genital warts among young Californians. The researchers looked at visits to†California Family PACT docs, who serve about 2 million clients a year. They compared the number of genital warts cases from 2007 to 2010 and found significant decreases among women and men under age 26, while the number of cases for clients age 26 and over stayed the same or increased. The researchers canít say for sure that these changes were related to the HPV vaccine, but itís a promising sign.

In less awesome news, another recent study showed that†fewer than half of people who start the HPV vaccine get all three injections in the recommended time frame of less than 1 year. To get the best protection from HPV, youíve got to get all three shots. On the one hand, it can be a pain to go to the doctor three times in a yearóon the other, itís fewer trips than somebody with genital warts or cervical cancer would probably make. And you know what Ben Franklin would say:†ounce of prevention, pound of cure.

Related:
Why You Should Reconsider the IUD
If Birth Control Were Free, Which Type Would You Choose?
37 Percent of US Babies Are “a Surprise”

Read more: Cancer, Conditions, General Health, Gynecology, Health, Life, Women's Health

Originally published on bedsider.org

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Everyone should have the life they want, when they want it. And until someone is ready to have a baby, we believe they should have access to birth control. Thatís where we come in. Bedsider makes birth control easier. How? By giving you everything you need to find it, get it, and use it well.

39 comments

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10:44PM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

I wish I knew more information about Gardasil etc. I asked my doctor about it but she pretty much just told me to get it, rather than pointing me to sources to learn about it...

2:52AM PST on Feb 18, 2013

informational

6:02PM PDT on Oct 31, 2012

Okay...

11:52PM PDT on Oct 30, 2012

Thanks for the info~

9:41PM PDT on Oct 30, 2012

Mari G., You didn't understand Toni B.'s point, which actually uses the point you're making about bacterial infection.

Yes, interesting how there is no mention of the number of VAERS or deaths. And good point, Toni
B. about the short duration of antibodies.

4:24AM PDT on Oct 29, 2012

Thanks.

12:26AM PDT on Oct 29, 2012

There is so little information as to say that this really is effective. After reading this short article I am still under informed and confused.

6:23PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Toni B, you are under-imfored. Chlamdyia is a bacterial infection, meaning that there is not vaccine for it since anti-biotics to cure it. HPV is a virus, meaning once you are infected, either your body completely fights it off OR you have it for life. The best ways to prevernt a virus is vaccines. IF the amoung ot cervical cancer cases post the HPV vaccine came out that means it is working.

It is sad how grossly undereducated people are in science. Phase IV is a test phase, takes a very long time to reach, an drugs/vacciens only get to this phase after showing it is safe. The purpose of this phase is to ensure, if there is a problem with said drug/vaccine in the general population, that it gets pulled off the market. Any drug/vaccine can cause a death because biochemistry is a personal matter. 3 billion people can take alieve without a problem, but 10,000 has died from it, does that make alieve dangerous?

7:48PM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

To Dresia V.
You are SO misinformed. Refraining from sex until marriage is NOT going to prevent anyone from getting HPV. It can be spread by holding hands....do you get the message yet?
You bible thumpers are usually so uneducated it's pathetic.
I hope you never ever have a daughter.

5:28AM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

Really disappointing article to see on Care2, which should be free of Pharma's propaganda. This is a dangerous and unnecessary drug. To see no mention whatsoever of the "Gardasil Girls" who have been maimed and even killed is just insulting. I'd be able to laugh it off if I knew everyone could see right through the shilling, but the number of commenters who lauded it as an informative article made me realize we still have a lot of work to do:(

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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