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Male and females must get three HPV shots, over a span of six months, before having sex to prevent themselves from attracting the cancer-causing virus. However, a study has recently concluded one dose of the HPV vaccine is just as good as three.
A study published June 9 in The Lancet Oncology, co-authored by Dr. Diane Harper Rowntree (professor in the Department of Geriatric and Family Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and a principal investigator) stated, ” A drug named Cervarix prevents CIN 3, known as pre-cancerous lesions, effectively at 93-percent.” However, another drug named Gardasil came out in 2006 but it was only effective 47 percent of the time. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 46 million Americans have been vaccinated with Gardasil.
In 2009, Cervarix was approved by the FDA to prevent pre-cancerous lesions and cervical cancers that were HPV 16 and 18, which are the two types of sexually transmitted infections of HPV which cause three-quarters of cervical cancer cases. With two drugs already produced to cease the chances of catching the cancerous virus, scientists concluded that one dose of the Cervarix drug being used in the HPV vaccine is just as good as three, because it has a longer lasting response within the immune system.
Harper told sources, ” Gardasil was not the best drug to use on women and girls, Cervarix is more superior than Gardasil and with one dose it offers the same level of effectiveness.” During the study, two large trials took place where scientists analyzed Cervarix to determine the effectiveness of one, two and three doses preventing the HPV infection. Women were chosen randomly to receive three doses of Cervarix, or a controlled vaccine. Some of the women received less than three doses, and follow-up tests were completed to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine each woman received, which were orchestrated over a course of four years.
The results indicated that the protection given in three doses achieved the same amount that was found in one dose. Harper told sources, “finding out the results was exciting because not every women gets all three doses in the time-span given. The results are also exciting for health facilities because their money is no longer wasted on women that do not come back for their three doses, after they have taken the first dose.”
The third most common cancer found in women is cervical cancer. Although scientists have proven it only takes one dose of the Cervarix vaccine to prevent one from obtaining HPV, Harper does not want people to stop getting all three doses. Instead, she wants people to feel more at ease if they were not able to complete the process in a timely manner and only received one.
A regents professor at University of New Mexico, Cosette Wheeler, told sources, “it is difficult to receive the three dose vaccine. It also takes a lot of coordination and time from a parent and provider’s side to target the vaccines towards adolescents, since the study is predominantly for them.” Instead of taking three doses of the HPV vaccine, parents and people may no longer feel as stressed, since it is now just as good to only take one.
By Krystle Mitchell
Edited by Chanel van der Woodsen
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Photo Courtesy of Pan American Health Organization’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License