HPV immunization program has almost eradicated Cervical Cancer in women-Lancet Study

70% of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV-16 and HPV-18 strains of the virus and three vaccines are available which is effective against both strains of the HPV virus.

Cervical Cancer once the scourge of women in the third world can become a thing of the past. As per a report in Lancet, the HPV immunization program has almost eradicated Cervical Cancer in women born after 1995.

The HPV or the Human papillomavirus is the most commonly transmitted STD disease that is spread by sexual contact. The virus can cause warts on the body but it is indicted for causing Cervical Cancer. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the world. The HPV virus usually remains benign but in certain cases can precipitate Cervical Cancer. According to W.H.O. Cervical cancer is responsible for 3, 00,000 deaths of women every year.

The C.D.C or the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every woman above the age of 21 should go for a PAP test. The Pap smear or the Pap test is a process in which cells are collected from the cervix or the lower, narrow end of your uterus. The Pap test is used to detect Cervical Cancer.  The Pap smear test can also detect changes in the cervical cells which could later lead to cervical cancer. Detecting these cells early helps better the prognosis of cervical cancer.

70% of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV-16 and HPV-18 strains of the virus and three vaccines are available which is effective against both strains of the HPV virus. The Third vaccine is effective against the Viruses which cause the remaining 20% of cervical cancer. The vaccine is to be administered to all girls at the age of 11 and 12 – before they become sexually active. The vaccine is not recommended for women above the age of 26. However, adults between the ages of 27 to 45 can decide to take the vaccine in consultation with a doctor or expert.

The HPV immunization program has significantly reduced the mortality and the incidence of Cervical Cancer in young women as per a report published by Lancet.

Two brands of HPV vaccines are available in India- Cervarix (costs Rs 3,299 per dose) and Gardasil (Rs 2,800 per dose). Cervarix offers protection against HPV 16 and 18 while Gardasil offers protection against HPV 16, 18, 11 and 6.

At a given time 6.6% of Indian women are infected with the HPV virus. 70% of the cervical cancers in India are caused by the 16 and 18 strains of HPV. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Immunization (IAPCOI) recommends that the vaccine can be administered to girls as young as 9 years. It can be administered to any girl between the ages of 13 to 26 years who have not been vaccinated before. The HPV vaccine is administered thrice within a period of six months and affords lifelong immunity against HPV induced Cervical Cancer.

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