The HPV Vaccine Is Successful: Teen Rates Have Dropped 60% In Last Decade

Hey! Here’s some actual good news! A study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that human papillomavirus rates in teenagers have dropped by 64 percent since the introduction of the HPV vaccine in 2006. Even among women in their 20s, who have a far lower vaccination rate than the current crop of teenagers–rates have dropped by over a third.

While there have been previous studies that have shown the effectiveness of the vaccine on teens who were vaccinated, this is the first study that includes those who weren’t vaccinated–and shows that their rates have decreased as well, due to the decreased frequency of transmission. 

Between the years of 2009 and 2013, the most recent years for which there is data, infection rates dropped from 18.6 percent to 10.8 percent overall–and down to 2.1 percent for those who actually received the vaccine.

Given the fact that only 40% of teenage girls and 20% of teenage boys have received the vaccination, this speaks volumes for its effectiveness. If we were to have higher vaccination rates it’s possible that this virus, which causes not only cervical cancer but several other forms of cancer as well–including penile, anal and mouth and throat cancers–could be eliminated the way we’ve mostly eliminated measles, polio and whooping cough.

Of course, the reason these rates are so low is because there are a lot of people who are still opposed to the vaccine. Not only the usual anti-vax suspects, but also those who believe it would make teens more sexually promiscuous. Though the vaccine is most effective when given around the ages of 11-13, parents are wary that receiving it will cause their children to run out and start having sex. You know, because fear of future cervical cancer is certainly high on the list of things keeping young women chaste. Studies, however, have shown that it does not have any effect on “increasing promiscuity” whatsoever.

There are, of course, also those who believe that STDs and cancer caused by an STD is God’s righteous punishment for sluts.

There are about 26,900 cases of cancer caused by HPV a year–9,300 in men, and 17,600 in women. It would be really stupid if we didn’t prevent thousands of people from getting cancer for fear that a vaccine kids probably don’t even fully understand at age 11 could cause them to have premarital sex.

[New York Times]