HPV vaccine cuts cancer-causing infection

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There has been a significant fall in the number of cases of HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer, following the introduction of a vaccine for young women, a new study says.

The Human Papilloma Virus vaccine fights high-risk infections which cause the majority of cervical cancer cases.

HPV infections decreased in women aged 16 to 21 by 86% between 2010 and 2016 data from Public Health England show.

It comes as newspapers say the vaccine may soon be offered to boys too.


Cervical cancer remains the most common cancer in women under 35.

Experts say these results suggest that the vaccine, introduced just 10 years ago, could eventually lead to a virtual eradication of the disease, which kills around 850 women a year.

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: "These results are very promising and mean that in years to come we can expect to see significant decreases in cervical cancer.

"The study also reminds us how important it is to keep vaccination rates high to reduce the spread of this preventable infection.

"I encourage all parents of girls aged 12 to 13 to make sure they take up the offer for this potentially life-saving vaccine."

The HPV vaccine, first introduced in 2008, is delivered through schools in two doses to girls from the age of 12 to their 18th birthday. It is not offered to women over the age of 18.

More than 80% of people aged 15-24 have now been vaccinated in the UK.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an expert advisory group, has reportedly told health ministers vaccinating boys will be cost-effective.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman would not confirm the reports, but said any advice from the JCVI would be "carefully considered" once received.

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