June 8, 2009

HPV Vaccine Used In Older Women As Well

 The HPV vaccine isn't just for teens. New research shows women ages 24 to 45 not already infected with the common sexually transmitted disease can receive protection against the virus following vaccination.

Adolescent girls and young women have been the targets for HPV vaccination efforts. However, a rising age at first marriage, divorce and changing sexual habits has resulted in an increase in rates of HPV infection among women over the age of 24. Results of a new study show it's not too late for women 25 years or older to receive protection, especially if they have no prior HPV infection.

The vaccine protects against four strains of HPV "“ 6, 11, 16 and 18 "“ which cause genital warts and cervical cancer. In a study of nearly 4,000 women between the ages of 25 and 45, the vaccine showed 91 percent effectiveness against all four virus strains.  Protection among women with existing HPV infection was lower at 30 percent, but did offer protection against strains the patients were not previously exposed to.


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