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Hail the Vaccine: Fewer Genital Warts Diagnosed in the Golden State

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Researchers in California say a decrease in the diagnosis of genital warts in the state may indicate HPV vaccine programs are working.

The first HPV vaccine came on the U.S. market in 2006, and it protects against four HPV types: the two types that cause most cervical cancers, along with two additional types found in most cases of genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for use with adolescent and young adult males and females.

Using data from the California Family Planning Access Care and Treatment (Family PACT) program, Dr. Heidi Bauer and colleagues examined clinical claims data from the California Family Planning Access Care and Treatment (Family PACT) program and found that in the years 2007-2010, external genital warts diagnosis fell 35% among females in the program who are under 21 years of age. Extern warts diagnosis among males in the same age group also fell, by 19%. Family PACT provides healthcare services to clients in California with low income.

Genital warts diagnosis in the same time period also dropped among both males (11%) and females (10%), respectively, between the ages of 21-25. With older groups, however, there was no decrease in the rate at with genital warts were diagnosed, offering strong evidence the vaccine is working. The authors say the decreases observed with males are potentially attributable to herd immunity, where even those who don’t receive the vaccine may benefit because there is less HPV in the population.

Read more at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22420808.

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