Sunday, August 30, 2009

HPV vaccines cannot treat women who are already infected

A new study suggests that cervical cancer vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV) do not reduce or eliminate preexisting infections.

Study researcher Allan Hildesheim at the National Cancer Institute says that, based on this research, the best approach is to vaccinate girls and women before they initiate any sexual activity.

The CDC recommends that girls should be vaccinated around 11 to 12 years of age, most of whom would not have already become sexually active. According to Hildesheim, for women who have already become sexually active, cervical cancer screening is a better preventative measure than vaccination.
The study showed that the body can clear many HPV infections on its own, but that vaccinating does not increase the clearance rate in infected women.

The CDC recommends the vaccines for women up to age 26. Recommendations that women should receive regular Pap smears remain unchanged.
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