International Women’s Day is coming up this Thursday, and we at VIVA! love to celebrate women’s health. This week, an exciting study by the International Papillomavirus Society has revealed a dramatic drop in the rate of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in women aged up to 24 years, from 22.7% down to just 1.1% in the past decade. This has been attributed to the 2007 HPV immunisation program that was rolled out across the country, for girls and 2013 for boys.
HPV is sexually transmitted infection that causes almost all cervical cancers and is implicated in a number of other cancers including anal, vaginal, penile and oropharyngeal. Globally, one woman dies every two minutes from cervical cancer. Around 4 in 5 women will experience HPV at some time in their lives, however most of time the immune system is able to clear the virus from the body before it develops into cancer. The HPV vaccination protects against two lower risk strains of the virus, which cause 90% of genital warts, as well as the two high-risk strains, which cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of HPV-related cancers in men.
In combination with the introduction of a more advanced screening test, the high HPV immunisation rates has set Australia to be the first country to completely eradicate cervical cancer, with the number of cases expected to dwindle in the coming decades.
We at VIVA! love seeing research and medical innovation at work and this is a wonderful example of community immunity at its finest.
For more information on the HPV vaccination, head here.