The single vaccination gives hope to eradicate the papilloma virus

Human papillomavirus is currently considered to be the leading factor in sexually transmitted infections. This new announcement is part of the dynamic of expanding vaccination to the entire general population, of which boys have recently been a part.

Papilloma virus: a virus that is still too present

Every year in France, the papilloma virus is the cause of 6,000 cancers, of which 4,500 in women (cervical, vulva, vagina, anus and oropharynx). HPV infection is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in humans. It is transmitted by contact with contaminated skin or mucous membranes.

Currently, 4 vaccines that have been approved by the WHO are able to protect types 16 and 18 of HPV. These are known to be the cause of at least 70% of cervical cancers.

The key element in HPV vaccination occurs at the age of the first vaccination, in fact this vaccine works much better if given before exposure to the virus, at the time of first sexual intercourse. Therefore, this vaccination should be given preferably between 9 and 14 years of age.

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The ambitions of the single vaccination according to the WHO

Virus prevalence factors correlated with those of cervical cancers vary widely across regions of the world. In question ? A slow introduction of vaccination to poor countries where this “silent killer” is present. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, with 90% of women living in low- and middle-income countries living with it.

The WHO’s 2030 targets are to immunize “90% of young girls under the age of 15” to prevent cervical cancer, says WHO Deputy Director-General Dr. Nothemba (Nono) Simelela.

The advancement offered by this change in the single-dose vaccination schedule will allow for more effective dose sharing and, therefore, wider access for the entire world population.

HPV vaccination is a public health issue and requires political commitment through equitable access to the vaccine, “Failure to do so is an injustice to the generation of girls and young women who may be at risk. of cervical cancer “. Dra Princess Nothemba (Nono) Simelela.

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>> Read also: Papilloma virus vaccination: the big mess

A dynamic of extending vaccination to boys

However, while vaccination has led to a strong prevention of the epidemic among women, these means also require the inclusion of men in these vaccination campaigns. In fact, every year in France, no less than 1750 men are diagnosed with cancer after an HPV infection. This risk of infection increases in men who have sex with other men. Men should also be considered in vaccination campaigns because they are considered “vectors of the virus.” Since 2019 in France, the vaccination recommendation has been extended to young men and adolescents from the age of 11, as well as to girls, a measure that comes later than in many other Western countries.

Several preventive factors are involved. On the one hand, the prevention of the risks of male cancers linked to HPV infection, although it is lower than that of women. On the other hand, gender equity in relation to access to vaccination but also the protection of men who have sex with other men who are a population at higher risk of suffering from HPV-related pathologies.

This expansion of vaccination would eventually protect the general population against this virus.

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