Wednesday, June 13, 2007

HPV Vaccine: A Topic Of Interest For Every Woman

Researchers have been hard at work developing a vaccine for human papilloma virus. HPV is an STD that affects millions of people each year. Although many cases of HPV will clear up without treatment there is a concern because HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer. With the introduction of the HPV vaccine many women can be assured that their chances of developing this serious form of cancer will be reduced.

Considering that in the United States alone the incidence of HPV infection in women aged between 18 and 22 is 50%, it's obvious that a vaccine could have a significant impact. In many other under-developed countries this percentage is much higher and with limited access to medical treatment 80% of the world's cervical cancer deaths occur in these countries.

Some of the factors regarding HPV vaccine that need to be taken into consideration are:

* The age at which vaccination should occur. Some medical experts argue that the HPV vaccine should be administered to young women before they become sexually active. This would mean the HPV vaccine would be given at a fairly young age which has upset many people. They view the HPV vaccine as a signal to these young women that they can be sexually active without worry of STDs.

* Pap smears still need to be done. Women need to remain vigilant about their annual Pap test even after receiving the vaccine. Although the HPV vaccine can reduce the incidence of cervical cancer it is certainly not the only cause. A Pap smear can detect any abnormalities early which allows for the highest rate of survival in women who do have pre-cancerous or cancerous cells.

The cost of the HPV vaccine is also heavily debated. Although many researchers view it as a necessity and instrumental in the sexual health of women, it is a concern in underdeveloped countries where the resources just aren't available.

The HPV vaccine could certainly add to a woman's health arsenal. As with any STD, prevention is truly the key. When a woman employs safe sex practices along with an annual Pap smear and the HPV vaccine she has a fighting chance against cervical cancer.