Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

HPV/Genital Warts Health Center

Font Size

Experts: HPV Vaccine a Preteen Priority

Study Shows Vaccine Is Cost-Effective When 12-Year-Olds Are Vaccinated

HPV Vaccine Strategies continued...

Kim's team plugged in an assumption that the vaccine effectiveness was going to be lifelong -- which is still an unknown because the vaccine is too new to prove that.

The cost-effectiveness for routine vaccination of 12-year-old girls, assuming they underwent screening as now recommended, was a good value.

To a point, the catch-up program was a good value, too. "We found the vaccine up to the age of 18 was consistently favorable," Kim says. "Up to age 21 was favorable under generous assumptions about its efficacy. Up to age 26 was consistently unattractive in terms of cost-effectiveness."

Kim concludes that if most 12-year-old girls get the vaccine, their cervical cancer screenings -- such as Pap tests and HPV tests -- could begin somewhat later than what is recommended by the CDC, starting within three years of first intercourse and no later than age 21. And the screenings could be done a bit less frequently, such as every three to five years.

HPV Vaccine: Second Opinion

In an editorial accompanying the study, Charlotte J. Haug, MD, PhD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of theNorwegian Medical Association, has a cautionary note. "The bad news is that the overall effect of the vaccines on cervical cancer remains unknown," she writes.

She points out that although two strains of HPV -- 16 and 18 -- are thought to account for the majority of all cervical cancers and are targets of the HPV vaccine, other strains may emerge as cancer-causing, too.

"We do not know enough about this vaccine yet," she tells WebMD.

In July 2008, the CDC and FDA reported that they had received 7,802 reports of adverse effects in those vaccinated with Gardasil, although the vaccine was not proven responsible for any of those events.

"But it's a very interesting concept and we should definitely go on doing controlled research and see if this is going to work," Haug says. "We are vaccinating young girls, and we are going to see the effect in a couple of decades."

"Vaccine duration is the critical parameter to determine if HPV vaccination is cost-effective," says Diane Harper, MD, professor and director of the Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

That will take time, she and others acknowledge. Meanwhile, "we have to educate girls and women that the vaccine must be used with the current screening system and is not a substitute for lifetime continued Pap screening," Harper says.

Today on WebMD

HPV Vaccine Future
STD Overview
STD Facts Quiz
Syringes and graph illustration
Sex Drive Killers
Genital Herpes Risks Quiz
Young couple holding hands
Herpes Vaccine Study
Condom Quiz
HPV Symptoms Tests
Get The STD Picture
cancer cell

WebMD Special Sections