HPV vaccination is fighting cervical cancer and winning! HPV vaccination has been shown to decrease cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 1 (CIN1) by 9%. CIN1 is a precursor to frank, invasive cervical cancer. So, this vaccine shows great success!
In fact, in the future cervical cancer screening guidelines may change to differentiate between those who have had the HPV vaccine and those who have not. This may mean beginning to screen for pap smears at a later age or may have pap smears less often than those that do not have the HPV vaccine.
The HPV vaccine was introduced in 2007. Initially it was a series of 3 vaccines. Now, if given before the patient’s 15th birthday a 2-vaccine HPV series is given. If started after the 15th birthday, then it is a three vaccine series given over 6 months. Both boys and girls should get the HPV vaccine.
Boys’ benefits are decreased risk of head and neck cancers. And, if the rate of HPV is less in boys, then it is also less in their female partners. That helps with “herd immunity” where everyone is less at risk for an infection because some vaccinate. It takes a village, right?!