Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Essay Sample
The article starts with a brief description of types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) followed by diseases caused by HPV. Explaining treatments followed by HPV vaccine and its impact and efficacy on the target population with concluding remarks.
Importance of HPV Vaccine
Human papilloma virus are a group of DNA-based virus infecting skin and mucous membranes with more than 100 strains of which over 30 strains being sexually transmitted and infecting the genital area (genital HPV). HPV strains commonly cause warts and people may get infected by walking bare foot or wearing other’s shoes. The figure below depicts notable Human Papilloma Virus with associated diseases.
HPV induced diseases include the following:
- Skin warts
- Genital warts
- Respiratory papillomatosis.
Nearly 12 HPV types including the types 16, 18, 31 and 45 can cause various types of cancers such as cervical cancer, anal cancer, vulvar cancer, penile cancer head and neck cancer and are called “high-risk” types. “HPV-induced cancers often have viral sequences integrated into the cellular DNA. Some of the HPV ‘early’ genes, such as E6 and E7 are known to act as oncogenes promoting tumor growth and malignant transformation.” The graphical depiction shown below clearly depicts that instances of HPV induced cervical cancer are maximum as compared to any other types. All other HPV induced diseases such as skin warts, genital warts and Respiratory papillomatosis do not lead to cancer.
The figures of infection with HPV are alarming with about 20 million currently infected with HPV and about 50% of sexually active men and women are infected with genital HPV at some point during their life time. About 80% women would have acquired HPV infection by 50 years of their age and approximately 6.2 million Americans acquire new genital HPV infection every year.
HPV lives in the skin or mucous membranes causing no symptoms though some people exhibit genital warts, very rarely HPV infections result into anal or genital cancers. Genital warts are soft, moist, and pink or flesh colored swellings and cauliflower shaped in the genital area. Genital warts can be detected by visual inspection.
“Pap” smear test or Papanicolaou screening is an effective tool and a simple test for detecting cervical cancer. Sample is extracted by inserting a small spatula or brush into the vagina and the cells removed from the cervix to be put on a slide or a vial and observed under a microscope. Slight bleeding may occur after sampling.
Depending on size and location of genital warts following treatment is advised:
- Imiquimod cream
- 20 percent podophyllin antimitotic solution
- 5 percent podofilox solution
- 5 percent 5-fluorouracil cream
- Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
Pregnant women are advised not to use podophyllin or podofilox and 5-fluorouracil cream. Smaller warts may be removed by any of the following procedures:
- Freezing (cryosurgery)
- Burning (electrocautery)
- Laser treatment.
In compliance with the old adage – Prevention is better than Cure, girls aged 9-12 years are recommended to take HPV vaccine. The vaccine is recommended to females aged between 13-26 years who have not received or completed the vaccine series. Research has proved that the vaccine is more safe and effective on females aged between 9 to 26 years old. It is obvious that females must be vaccinated before they become sexually active and the vaccine is found to more effective and beneficial on females not infected by any of the four HPV types. On the other hand sexually active females may also benefit from the vaccine but to a lesser extent.
Gardasil is the vaccine used to prevent infection with HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. It is stated to be 91-100% effective against the above mentioned HPV types.
It is very important to note that pregnant women should not be vaccinated and it is advisable for the women to complete pregnancy before taking the vaccine. About 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts can be prevented by taking the vaccine. Thus the women are necessarily advised to undergo screening (Pap smear test). All the girls/women are advised to receive all the three doses of the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. The 2nd and 3rd doses are given after second and sixth of the first dose.
Vaccines for Children (VFC) – of federal health program cover the HPV vaccine. The retail price of the vaccine is $120 per dose meaning $360 for all the three doses. Under the VFC program free vaccines are provided to children aged less than 19 years of age and are either uninsured, Medicaid-eligible, American Indian, or Alaska Native.
It is also important to note that all the girls/women must get themselves screened regularly since the vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that causes cervical cancer. Secondly, some women may not take all the doses of vaccine hence they may not be fully protected. Thirdly, a woman may not receive all the benefit in spite of taking all the doses since she may have already been affected by one of the four types.
Another test being HPV DNA test with Pap test is also used as cervical cancer screening for women aged above 30 years.
Concluding I would like to state that the greatest risk of HPV infection is cervical cancer which may complicate in case of pregnant women leading to difficulties in delivery due to the obstruction caused by warts in the passage of baby at the time of delivery. Rarely babies born to women with genital warts develop warts in their throats i.e., respiratory papillomatosis which may be life threatening.
Human papillomavirus. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2007). Retrieved on February 14, 2007 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_papillomavirus
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (2004). Genital HPV Infection – CDC Fact Sheet. Page retrieved on February 14, 2007 from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (2004). HPV Vaccine Questions and Answers. Page retrieved on February 14, 2007 from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/STDFact-HPV-vaccine.htm#hpvvac1
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Genital Warts (2006). Womenshealth.gov. Page retrieved on February 14, 2007 from: http://www.4woman.gov/faq/stdhpv.htm
Human Papillomavirus and Genital Warts (2006). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious disease. Page retrieved on February 15, 2007 from: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/stdhpv.htm
HPV (human papillomavirus) (2006). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Page retrieved on February 15, 2007 from: http://www.fda.gov/womens/getthefacts/hpv.html