Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases worldwide. However, people still haven’t gained enough awareness about the virus, which can lead to various cancers such as cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancer in women and genital warts in both men and women.
As the most common among the consequences caused by HPV, cervical cancer causes an estimated 342,000 deaths, and in this direction, scientists all over the world are conducting studies to defeat both HPV and cervical cancer.
And today, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group on Immunization (SAGE) released a statement showing that a single dose of the HPV vaccine provides adequate protection against cervical cancer.
Less expensive and less resource intensive
Since US government approval in 2006, Gardasil’s HPV vaccine has been administered as a three-dose schedule for those who are eligible, and in 2014 it was reduced to two doses for those under the age of 15.
“The option for a single dose of the vaccine is less expensive, less resource intensive and easier to administer. It facilitates the implementation of catch-up campaigns for multiple age groups, reduces the challenges associated with finding girls for their second dose and allows financial and human resources to be reallocated to other health priorities,” said WHO Deputy Director-General Dr. Princess Nothemba (Nono) Simelela.
“This could be a game changer for disease prevention; when more doses of the life-saving vaccine reach more girls,” WHO noted in its statement.
Who needs the HPV vaccination?
Despite the fact that HPV and its consequences are often associated with women, all adolescents, regardless of gender, are recommended to be vaccinated against HPV. The vaccine can be given even as young as 9 years old, as it is ideal for people to get the vaccine before they have sexual contact and are at risk of exposure to HPV.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the Gardasil vaccine for everyone between the ages of 9 and 26. If you are between the ages of 27 and 45 and still want to get vaccinated, you should consult your doctor and decide based on their recommendations.
The latest findings promise a faster and cheaper way to prevent HPV-related cancer. Considering that more than 95% of cervical cancer cases are caused by sexually transmitted HPV, it is heartwarming to see positive developments in a virus that causes hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.