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Studies Find HPV Vaccine More Effective in Younger Women, Doctor's Advice Can Boost Uptake

Studies Find HPV Vaccine More Effective in Younger Women, Doctor's Advice Can Boost Uptake

January 8, 2014 — Recently published studies on the human papillomavirus vaccine discuss when it might be most effective for women to receive and common barriers against vaccination in the U.S. Summaries appear below.

~ Age at Vaccination: Women ages 18 and older and those who had abnormal cervical cytology when vaccinated against the human papillomavirus had rates of cervical dysplasia similar to those of unvaccinated women, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, MedPage Today reports. The "findings affirm the importance of vaccination before any significant exposure to HPV occurs and underscore the need for screening programs that cover all sexually active women, even if they were vaccinated," the researchers wrote. The study analyzed the medical records of 3,541 women ages 15 and older in Manitoba, Canada, who were vaccinated between September 2006 and April 2010. The researchers compared each vaccinated participant with three unvaccinated participants, with a median follow-up of 3.1 years (Bankhead, MedPage Today, 1/7).

~ Doctors' recommendations: Physicians' recommendations that children receive the HPV vaccine might be one of the most effective ways to boost HPV vaccination rates, according to a literature review published in JAMA Pediatrics, MedPage Today's "The Gupta Guide" reports. For the review, researchers analyzed 55 studies published between January 2009 and December 2012 that examined barriers to HPV vaccination among U.S. adolescents. The review concluded that not receiving a recommendation from a physician was a key reason parents did not have their children vaccinated, along with concerns about costs, gaps in knowledge about the dangers of HPV, inadequate insurance coverage, and preferences for vaccinating older children or girls instead of boys. However, the study also found that only a relatively small proportion of parents, between 1% and 18%, were concerned the vaccine would alter their children's sexual behavior (Smith, "The Gupta Guide," MedPage Today, 1/7).