(CBS Local) — The vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) may eliminate cervical cancer, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal The Lancet. Researchers who reviewed 65 studies in 14 high-income countries found that since the vaccine was introduced in 2006, there has been a “substantial” decrease in HPV infections and related conditions.
They found that the two HPV types that cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers, known as HPV 16 and HPV 18, were significantly reduced after vaccination — by 83% among girls aged 13 to 19 and by 66% among women aged 20 to 24.
HPV is a common virus that’s spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the leading cause of cervical cancers and can cause five other types of cancers, including anal, penile, vaginal, vulvar and oropharyngeal (mouth and throat).
The reduction of these infections is “a first sign that vaccination could eventually lead to the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem,” the study’s lead author, Mélanie Drolet, an epidemiologist at Laval University in Canada, said in a statement.
As a result of the study, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted Wednesday to recommend that the HPV vaccine be given to both boys and girls and men and women up to age 26. The panel also recommended adults ages 27 through 45 who had not been vaccinated to make shared decisions with their doctor.
The ACIP recommendations won’t be official until they’re approved by the CDC director, CNN reported.