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Are HPV Vaccines Less Effective in African-American Women?

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Research finds that African-American women are less likely than white women to have the cancer-causing HPV types covered by vaccines currently on the market.

Two HPV vaccines are available in the U.S. and throughout much of the world – Merck’s Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix- and both cover HPV 16 and 18, respectively, the two “high risk” HPV types found with about 70% of cervical cancers globally.

A number of other “high risk” HPV types can cause cervical cancer, though, so women remain at risk (and should continue having Pap and HPV tests) after being vaccinated.

This point was driven home in October, when Dr. Catherine Hoyo presented data at the International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research that indicates African-American women, compared to white women, are only half as likely to have HPV 16 and 18.

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