HPV rates plummetNews added by Benefits Pro on February 24, 2016

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By Jack Craver

Here comes more evidence that vaccines are saving lives.

A new study published in Pediatrics, the medical journal of the American Academy of Pediatricians, finds that rates of HPV have plummeted among girls and young women as a result of a vaccine that was introduced about ten years ago.

“Within 6 years of vaccine introduction, there was a 64 percent decrease in 4vHPV type prevalence among females aged 14 to 19 years and a 34 percent decrease among those aged 20 to 24 years,” concluded the team of medical researchers, lead by Dr. Lauri Markowitz, a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control.

For a bit of context, those trends meant that the rate of HPV among teens dropped from 11.5 percent to 4.3 percent. For the older group of women in their 20’s, the rate dropped from 18.5 percent to 12.1 percent.

It is the first evidence, reported the researchers, of the impact that the vaccine has had on young adults.

Despite medical consensus that boys and girls entering their teen years should get the vaccine, only 40 percent of teen girls and 20 percent of teen boys do so.

Like sex education in schools, the HPV vaccine has been decried by conservative political forces as a tacit acceptance of sexual activity among teens, since the virus is transmitted sexually.

Some -- most prominently former congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann -- have alleged that the vaccine causes disastrous side effects, including mental retardation, an allegation vehemently disputed by doctors.

As a result, reports the New York Times, some physicians may be reluctant to recommend the vaccine to parents.

“Multiple studies have shown the importance of a strong provider recommendation for increasing vaccination coverage,” Markowitz told the Times.

There are many different strains of HPV, some of which do not produce any significant symptoms for those who contract them. But the consequences of some strains are tragic, most notably cervical cancer.

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