New study suggests HPV vaccine may not require three doses
In an effort to raise awareness of sexual health, advocates have been pushing for teenage girls to receive three doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in order to protect them from such complications as cervical cancer later in life. As HPV continues to affect a large number of women across the U.S., scientists have been trying to find a way to protect females against this disease, which is not always prevented by condoms.
Now, according to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, less than three doses of the HPV vaccine Cervarix may be just as effective in preventing the disease as taking the full three doses, which has been recommended by medical professionals.
HPV types 16 and 18 are major reasons why some women develop cervical cancer, which is the third most common type of cancer in women worldwide. The study's authors are hopeful that their findings suggesting that women do not need the three doses of the vaccine in order to see results may encourage more of them to seek treatment.
"If randomized studies and cost-effectiveness analyses confirm the benefits of administering fewer doses, and the duration of protection is sufficient, then the need for fewer doses may help make primary prevention of cervical cancer a reality," they write.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 40 HPV strains that can affect both males and females. However, the majority of people who carry the disease show no symptoms and do not even realize that they may be a carrier. In 90 percent of all HPV cases, the CDC reports that the body's immune system clears the disease naturally within two years.