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I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Here is what's new this week in To Your Health - a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM - that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.
Health threatening strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) declined significantly among female teens and young women following the release of a vaccine to prevent the virus in 2006, reports a comprehensive study recently published in Pediatrics.
The study, based on a national survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests four cancer-associated HPV strains comparatively declined by 64 percent among girls ages 14 to 19 — comparing the three years just before and after the 2006 release of the HPV vaccine.
The findings suggest HPV strains also comparatively declined by 34 percent among young women, ages 20-24, comparing results from 2003-2006 with 2009-2012.
The study's six authors (who derived their findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) added comparative HPV rates in women 25 and older did not fall. However, the authors explain the HPV vaccine was recommended for girls ages 11 and 12. Hence, few women who were in their mid-20s between 2009-2012 received the HPV vaccine after it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The study's authors note a core intent of the HPV vaccine is to prevent cervical cancer from developing as women age.
The authors conclude (and we quote): 'This finding extends previous observations of population impact (of the HPV vaccine) in the United States and demonstrates the first national evidence of impact among females in their (early) 20s' (end of quote).
After the study's release, an HPV vaccine and cervical cancer expert at the American Cancer Society told the New York Times (and we quote): 'the [HPV] vaccine is more effective than we thought' (end of quote).
The New York Times adds only about 40 percent of girls and about 20 percent of boys (ages 11 and 12) currently receive the vaccine in the U.S. Most states do not require young persons to receive the HPV vaccine with the exceptions of Virginia, Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia. In nations such as Australia and Rwanda where the HPV vaccine is mandatory, consistently increased reductions in HPV related illnesses have been reported.
In a story about the Pediatrics study, the New York Times explains about 4,100 women will die from cervical cancer this year. While about 14 million Americans become infected with HPV annually — and the virus clears in many cases, some strains of HPV are associated with the risk (and development of) cervical as well as other cancers.
Meanwhile, MedlinePlus.gov's HPV health topic page notes current HPV vaccines can protect against several types of HPV. An overview of HPV cancer prevention (provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is available within the 'prevention and risk factors' section of MedlinePlus.gov's HPV health topic page.
The CDC also provides concise information about treatment for HPV within the 'treatment and therapies' section of MedlinePlus.gov's HPV health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov's HPV health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Links to clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about HPV as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's HPV health topic page, please type 'HPV' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'HPV (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also has health topic pages devoted to cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening.
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