By Dennis Thompson
Fewer adult women are becoming infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), a trend that includes females who have never received the HPV vaccine, a new study reports.
It appears that enough women have gotten the HPV vaccine to create "herd immunity" that will provide some protection to females who go unvaccinated, said lead researcher Dr. Abbey Berenson.
"While vaccinated women have already had low levels of HPV infections for several years, we are now seeing a reduction in infections among women who have not received the vaccine," said Berenson, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
"This is further evidence that the vaccine is effective and emphasizes just how important it is for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated," she added.
This trend should lead to an overall decrease in cervical cancer deaths, Berenson said. The HPV vaccine targets several strains of the virus that are responsible for 9 out of 10 cases of cervical cancer.
Linda Eckert, Adjunct Associate Professor of Global Health and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, wrote an editorial accompanying this study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology and is quoted in this story.