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HPV Vaccine Cuts Cases of Genital Warts

Study Shows Positive Impact of HPV Vaccination Program Among Young Women
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 15, 2009 -- Use of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has led to rapid declines in cases of genital warts in Australia, a study shows.

Gardasil, the vaccine used in the Australian study, targets four HPV types. HPV types 6 and 11 are associated with genital warts; types 16 and 18 are associated with cervical cancer.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne analyzed numbers of new clients with genital warts who went to Australia's largest sexual health clinic between 2004 and 2008.

Australia started a free HPV vaccination program for girls 12 to 18 in schools and for women 26 and younger in family doctor practices and community clinics in April and July 2007.

During the study period, 36,055 people visited the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre; a diagnosis of genital warts was made in 10.6% of them.

The researchers say the number of women under age 28 diagnosed with genital warts fell 25% each quarter throughout 2008. From 2004 to 2007, new cases of genital warts rose about 2% per quarter in women under 28.

The number of new cases of genital warts also fell by an average of 5% each quarter among heterosexual men through 2008. No reduction was seen in homosexual men or women outside the age group eligible for the free vaccination.

The researchers, led by C. K. Fairley, MD, write that the results suggest that sharp and marked reductions in the incidence of genital warts among vaccinated women may be achievable through an HPV vaccination program. Also, the research supports the notion that the vaccine would offer some benefit to heterosexual men.

Several of the scientists involved in the research reported financial stakes in the manufacturer of Gardasil or had received research money from it.

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