HPV vaccine: No easy answers

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A recent editorial in the British Medical Journal asks some provocative questions about whether or not a national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program is worthwhile. 

The editorial discusses a study in India in which more than 23 000 girls aged 10-14 years were given the HPV vaccine. The study was halted due to allegations – now proven– of ethical violations.

India has more deaths from cervical cancer annually than any other country in the world, so the debate over the HPV vaccine is critical to their national health policy.

The article also discusses a clinical review of the evolving evidence on primary prevention of cervical cancer. This review finds that there is “only a 1-2% chance of developing cervical cancer in the absence of screening and vaccination, making cervical cancer ‘a very rare complication of a relatively common infection.’”

Read HPV vaccination as a national health priority: no easy answers.