How To Prevent HPV Among Young Adults

VaccineThroughout the past few years, thanks to the HPV vaccine, there has been a dramatic decrease among teenage girls in HPV infection, which is considered to be one of the major causes of cervical cancer and the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide. Even though most girls in the US haven’t chosen full vaccination, the vaccine could still save 45,000 people from having cervical cancer and prevent 14,000 deaths among teenage girls throughout their lives. With President Obama’s new healthcare law, providers will have to fully cover the vaccine costs, which might make it easier to convince young adults to get vaccinated. Zintro experts discuss how strongly the HPV vaccine should be recommended.

Commercialization specialist, Rita Kelley is very confident that the HPV vaccine will have very positive effects on the young generation. “While it is well documented that the vaccine can help girls and young women prevent cervical cancer, it works only if they are treated prior to being infected with the HPV. It is estimated that more than 50% of sexually active individuals will become infected at least once in their lifetime if not treated prophylactically with the HPV vaccine,” Kelley explains. “Persistent oncogenic HPV infection is the strongest risk factor for the development of cancers and pre-cancerous conditions.” As Kelley further points out, the HPV vaccines have reduced the rate of genital warts by more than 90% among girls and boys under 14, since they became available in 2008. “In 2011 there were approximately 453,000 cases genital warts,” she adds. “While the discussion on sexual health in the US has improved, there is still tremendous need for physicians to have discussions with both parents and patients about the value of preventative treatment.”

Optical medical device consultant, Nicholas MacKinnon also agrees that it is very important to encourage young adults to get vaccinated, even though cervical cancer progresses slowly. “Very few teenage girls develop cervical cancer because it is a slowly progressing disease. Teenage girls are targeted for the vaccine because they want to catch them before they are sexually active. HPV can remain in a dormant state for many years until some biological trigger causes it to initiate abnormal growth in cells of the cervix,” notes MacKinnon. “HPV can also trigger the development of oral cancer. Therefore, girls and boys should both be vaccinated.”

Pirouz Daftarian, an expert in vaccine and immunotherapies, believes that the vaccine could lead to a scientific breakthrough, therefore recommends more research in this area. “I work in the area of therapeutic versus prophylactic vaccines and predict that uncovered HPV types will be a problem in future if not included,” says Daftarian. “HPV vaccine may be a silent revolution in viral-induced cancers; a scientific success deserves more attention.”

By Idil Kan

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