Ten Years on, Research Shows HPV Vaccine Is Safe

By Emma Kalman | Jan 03, 2018
Photo by: SC Photography Emma started writing at the age of 14. As the years passed she studied many fields including health, research and a variety of writing styles. Today she is a writer of health and wellness, technology, pet products and fashion articles, poetry, short stories, as well as children's stories.

New York — Now that scientists have 10 years of data on the children who were given the HPV vaccine, they have been able to analyze this information. It shows the vaccine is effective and safe, providing valuable protection against the most harmful strains of the human papillomavirus.

It’s estimated nearly eighty million people in America, mostly those in their late teens and early 20s have been infected with the human papillomavirus.

Approximately half of these are infected with the most harmful strains which are the strains focused on by the vaccine that was given to study participants. The vaccine has been designed to protect against four different types of the virus. It accounts for virtually all cases of cervical cancer and other cases of cancer that could be related to the HPV virus.

Researchers analyzing the data found that no cases of any disease related to these four types of human papillomavirus were found in those taking part in the study. This included who originally received a three-dose vaccine between ages nine and 15 and when they were sexually inactive. This is obviously great news, but researchers also wanted to look at the long-term safety and efficacy of this treatment.

They needed to obtain answers to questions such as if children were vaccinated at a younger age will it last, and thankfully it will. Apparently, the vaccine is still working well 10 years on and it’s unlikely that a booster shot will be required. This study was important because it was the longest follow-up study so far on the vaccine for HPV. Participants were followed at more than thirty locations in nine different countries.

At the beginning of the study, approximately one-third of the participants received a placebo vaccine. Two and a half years into the study this group also went on to have the proper vaccine, allowing researchers to study these participants, although for a shorter time. Everyone remained disease-free, but it was found those who received the vaccinations at a younger age produced the best antibody response.

Currently, just over 40% of teenagers in the United States are up-to-date with the recommended dosages of the HPV vaccine. It is an important vaccine as the human papillomavirus is the reason why gynecologists recommend regular Pap smears.

Why Pap Smears Can Help Protect Those Who Haven’t Been Vaccinated

Even though a vaccine is now available, it doesn’t help many older people in the United States and worldwide and who are sexually active. This is why gynecologists recommend women receive regular Pap smears after age 21. They suggest this should be part of their yearly checkup, along with a breast examination and pelvic exam. The whole purpose of a Pap smear is to take a small sample of cells from the cervix which is then sent for analysis.

By having regular Pap smears, your doctor can closely monitor your health and can keep a close eye on any small changes. The results of a Pap smear may show normal or abnormal cells, as well as the presence of the human papillomavirus. The great thing about having regular Pap smears is that they can detect any small changes to the cells in your cervix. If anything has changed then it can generally be treated very effectively.

Cervical cancer tends to develop very slowly so it may be years before it becomes life-threatening. A Pap smear can detect any small changes even before you experience any symptoms. It is a simple test that could quite literally save your life, not to mention the need for more invasive treatment. You should regard your regular Pap smear is being the first line of defense against cervical cancer that is well worth the few moments of momentary discomfort.

If your Pap smear does come back showing the presence of abnormal cells, then it’s important not to panic as your doctor will suggest the best course of action. Sometimes they may want to repeat the Pap smear because there could be a simple explanation for why it showed some abnormalities. It could simply be because your gynecologist was unable to obtain a good sample of cells during the original test.

They may choose to repeat the test immediately or could ask you to come back in a few months or even a year later, depending on your medical history and age. If treatment is required then it’s highly likely that it can be performed quite quickly, removing any precancerous cells during a very short procedure.

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