Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the USA. There are more than 40 HPV sub-types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. Additionally, some HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. HPV is generally transmitted from personal contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex.
The new, more powerful, version of the HPV vaccine , recently cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, protects teens and young adults from 9 subtypes of HPV, helping prevent more cancers. The new vaccine, called Gardasil-9, prevents even more types of cancer.
This newest version of the HPV cancer-preventing vaccine safely and effectively prevents several forms of cancer in young adults by protecting the those who receive the vaccine from nine different types of the HPV virus. In a clinical study, published in Pediatrics, 3066 girls and boys, aged 9 through 15, were given a three-dose series of the new Gardasil-9 vaccine–day 1, month 1, and month 6.
The researchers observed no serious adverse events and high immunogenicity (antibodies to all 9 HPV types).
HPV and cancer
As some background, HPV infections are closely linked to many types of cancers in men and women. According to current medical research, below are some of the cancers caused by various HPV types:
- Cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers can be caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.
- Genital warts are caused by HPV types 6 and 11. Although genital warts are generally benign (though unsightly), there is a small chance they develop into cancers.
- Various precancerous lesions of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus can be caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58
- Oropharyngeal and penile cancers are caused by subtypes 16 and 18.
HPV is believed to cause nearly 5% of all new cancers across the world, making it almost as dangerous with regards to cancer as tobacco. According to the CDC, roughly 79 million Americans are infected with HPV–approximately 14 million Americans contract HPV every year. Most individuals don’t even know they have the infection until the onset of cancer. About 27,000 HPV-related cancers are diagnosed in the USA every year.
Gardasil prevents cancer
The original HPV quadrivalent vaccine, known as Gardasil (or Silgard in Europe), can prevent infection by human papillomavirus, substantially reducing the risk of these types of cancers. An HPV bivalent vaccine, known as Cervarix, is used in some countries, but only provides protection again two of the subtypes most associated with cervical cancer.
The newer, and more powerful, version of Gardasil gained FDA approval based upon data from a randomized, controlled study (to be published soon) in the U.S. involving approximately 14000 females aged 16 to 26, all testing negative for HPV at the start of the study.
The new Pediatrics study provided evidence that, a month after being given the final dose, over 99% of the study participants had antibodies to all 9 types of the human papillomavirus included in the new vaccine. In addition, in a follow-up over 30 months later, the participants still retained antibodies to the 9 HPV types, and there is no evidence that the immunity waned.
Since these young adults are immune to these 9 types of the virus, they will avoid over 90% of the HPV caused cancers. This is one of the most powerful tools available to actually prevent cancers.
Within the antivaccination world, the loathing of Gardasil probably ranks above all other vaccines. There are numerous memes and stories that set out to diminish both the quality and safety of the vaccines. However, there are literally dozens of powerful studies that have provided evidence that the claimed serious adverse events are not attributable to the vaccine, and occur at rates no different that the rate in an unvaccinated population.
As Tara Haelle reminds everyone in a recent Forbes article, “a thorough review of the evidence by the Institute of Medicine and multiple studies since then have found no evidence that any other conditions reported were caused by the vaccine. All conditions that happened occurred at the same rate in those who did not receive the vaccine as those who did.”
Gardasil was developed during this period of time of more criticism of vaccines, so it is probably the safest and most effective ever developed. Again, Gardasil prevents cancer – this is established by real science.
Currently in the United States, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that preteen girls and boys aged 11 or 12 are vaccinated against HPV. The immunization is also recommended for teenage girls and young women up to the age of 26 who did not receive it when they were younger, and teenage boys and young men up to the age of 21. Officially, the CDC recommended including the new Gardasil in a March 2015 publication:
ACIP recommends that routine HPV vaccination be initiated at age 11 or 12 years. The vaccination series can be started beginning at age 9 years. Vaccination is also recommended for females aged 13 through 26 years and for males aged 13 through 21 years who have not been vaccinated previously or who have not completed the 3-dose series. Males aged 22 through 26 years may be vaccinated
I once wrote an article about how to actually prevent cancers. There are no magical panaceas that prevent any of the 250 or so cancers. There’s no magical supplement or pill. There are just a few ways to prevent cancers–stop smoking, stay out of the sun, lose weight, avoid radiation, and get the HPV vaccine.
Gardasil prevents at least 6 types of cancer, and that’s better than all the “natural” supplements that you could consume.
Gardasil prevents cancer – and that’s that.
- According to the package insert, Gardasil 9 is indicated in females aged 9-26 years for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancer caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; genital warts caused by types 6 and 11; and various precancerous or dysplastic lesions of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus caused by types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. The vaccine is also indicated in males aged nine through 15 years for the prevention of anal cancer caused by types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; genital warts caused by types 6 and 11; and anal intraepithelial neoplasia grades 1, 2, and 3 caused by types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.
- Petrosky E, Bocchini JA Jr, Hariri S, Chesson H, Curtis CR, Saraiya M, Unger ER, Markowitz LE; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of 9-valent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: updated HPV vaccination recommendations of the advisory committee on immunization practices. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Mar 27;64(11):300-4. PubMed PMID: 25811679.
- Van Damme P, Olsson SE, Block S, Castellsague X, Gra GE, Herrera T, Huang L-M, Kim DS, Pitisuttithum P, Chen J, Christiano, S, Maansson R, Moeller E, Sun X, Vuocolo S, Luxembourg A. Immunogenicity and Safety of a 9-Valent HPV Vaccine. Pediatrics, 22 Jun, 2015.