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Three Doses of HPV Vaccine Effective for Genital Warts

Update Date: Feb 11, 2014 04:05 PM EST

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is meant to protect boys and girls from the dangerous strains of the virus. HPV could lead to cervical cancer, oral cancer and painful genital warts. Even though the vaccine is supposed to be administered in three dosages, not every one follows through, which could affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. According to a new study conducted by a research team from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, getting all three doses of the HPV vaccine maximizes the effectiveness of the vaccine in protecting against genital warts.

In this study, the researchers examined data provided by the Swedish health care registers from 2006 through to 2010. In Sweden, the HPV vaccine is free for all girls between the ages of 10 and 18. The age group that the researchers focused on was 10 to 24-years-old. The researchers grouped the data on over one million individuals into four groups, which were unvaccinated, received one dose of the vaccine, received two doses of the vaccine and completed all three dosages. The team reported that during the time frame, 80 percent of the girls and women had gotten all three vaccines.

During the follow-up, which averaged of 3.8 years, the researchers found that there were more than 20,000 cases of genital warts. The team concluded that there was a relationship between genital warts and the number of doses that the girls received.

"When it comes to the vaccine's ability to protect against genital warts in girls between 10 and 16 years of age we can see that two doses provide good protection, up to 71 per cent, but that three doses is better, up to 82 per cent, " said Lisen Arnheim Dahlström from the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet. "Our results suggest that we should continue with the recommended three doses, but open up for a future two-dose schedule after more studies have been conducted regarding the protection against genital warts and initial stages of cervical cancer."

The study, "Association of varying number of doses of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine with incidence of condyloma," was published in JAMA.

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