Time To Ramp Up HPV Vaccination Efforts

The CDC on Wednesday “released some really good news — the prevalence of types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that commonly cause cervical cancer in women has dropped about half in girls aged 14-19 [in the U.S.] since 2006, when the vaccination program started,” CDC Director Tom Frieden writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “Results of the study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, are striking and should be a wake-up call to our nation to make sure adolescent and teenage girls are vaccinated against HPV,” he writes, noting, “Only one third of 13- to 17-year-old girls in the United States have received the HPV vaccine as recommended.” He adds, “In fact, countries such as Rwanda have vaccinated a higher percentage of females than we have in the U.S.” Frieden continues, “Our low vaccination rates represent 50,000 preventable tragedies — 50,000 girls alive today who will develop cervical cancer that would have been prevented if we had reached 80 percent vaccination rates,” concluding, “It’s time for health care providers, health departments and parents to move swiftly and act now protect the next generation of women against cervical cancer by increasing HPV vaccination rates” (6/19).