The HPV rate dropped a dramatic 64 percent among teen girls ages 14 to 19 within six years of the 2006 introduction of the human papillomavirus vaccine, a new study has found.
"We are seeing exactly what we would expect — that the first impact would be seen in the youngest age groups and, then as they age into the older age groups, we would see an impact on young women," lead researcher Lauri Markowitz said, USA Today reported
"But we would see greater impact with greater vaccine coverage."
The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found that the age group just ahead of the teen group, those women ages 20 to 24, saw the rate of HPV decrease 34 percent over the same time period.
According to Fox News
, the researchers came to their findings by looking at the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They compared the data from 2003-2006, the time before the vaccine was recommended for all young women, to the survey period from 2009-2012, when the results of vaccine would begin to show up in the data. Some researchers have begun calling the two time periods the "pre-vaccination era" and "vaccination era."
In the long run, doctors expect the vaccine could help prevent HPV in both women and men, and reduce the overall number of cases of cervical, vaginal, anal, and throat cancers. While women were the first to receive the vaccine, doctors began recommending it for younger men in 2011.
Nowadays, the CDC recommends the vaccine for all girls and boys ages 11 to 12. The vaccine is usually administered in three doses over the course of 6 months.
"It means there’s going to be a whole lot less disease," said Debbie Saslow, director of women’s cancer programs at the American Cancer Society, citing genital warts and pre-cancers. "Then 10 years later, that’s when we are going to start to see the cancers drop."
According to the CDC, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It's estimated that nearly 80 million Americans have it.
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