HPV vaccination reduces the risk of infection even after a previous case of the disease

March 28, 2012, Medical University of Vienna

The vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) reduces the risk of a renewed HPV-associated illness in patients who have already had diseases as a consequence of an HPV infection. That is the result of a study being led by Elmar Joura from the University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the MedUni Vienna and which has now been published in the British Medical Journal. It had previously been the view that the HPV vaccination had a purely preventative effect and was also only effective in young women and men.

In Austria up to 500 women are diagnosed with each year. HP viruses are responsible for this in more than 90 percent of cases. According to Statistik Austria, around 150 to 180 women die from the condition every year. According to figures from the (WHO) for Austria, these numbers are even higher - with 600 people contracting the illness and around 300 dying from it every year.

In Austria, around 6,000 women are admitted to hospitals year after year because the preliminary stages of cervical cancer have to be treated and removed. In addition, according to Joura, there are around 30,000 “abnormal smears” and around 15,000 people suffer from genital warts, which are also caused by HP viruses. This affects men too. Two out of three people will come into contact with HP viruses at some time during their life. A single vaccination can protect people from these diseases. 

Vaccination reduces the risk of a renewed disease by two thirds

In the current study of 17,000 women between the ages of 16 and 26, the team of researchers led by Joura determined that the HPV vaccination also has an effect on people who have already previously had this disease, and who generally have a much greater risk of subsequently contracting an HPV-associated disease again. Joura says: “We have been able to show that the risk of a renewed disease is reduced by two thirds with this vaccination.”

The effect of HPV is insidious, as Ursula Wiedermann-Schmidt, Head of the Institute of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine at the MedUni Vienna, explains: “An infection with HPV initially progresses slowly, undiscovered and without any symptoms of illness, until it finally causes cancer.” The vaccination protects people from the disease, and it is not only advisable for young people. Says Joura: “There is data which proves the efficiency of the vaccination in people even up to the age of 45. Therefore vaccination is to be recommended for everyone up to the age of 45. It provides protection not only from but also from other types of cancer, such as anal carcinoma. This protection applies to men and women equally.” According to Joura it would be desirable that this vaccination is not only included in the Austrian vaccination schedule, but also in the child vaccination schedule and therefore be financed by public funds. There has already been a recommendation from Austria’s Supreme Health Council (Oberster Sanitätsrat) in place for this since 2007.

Explore further: Lack of clarity about HPV vaccine and the need for cervical cancer screening

More information: “Effect of the human papillomavirus (HPV) quadrivalent vaccine in a subgroup of women with cervical and vulvar disease: retrospective pooled analysis of trial data.” E. Joura; et al. BMJ 2012; 344 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e1401

Related Stories

Lack of clarity about HPV vaccine and the need for cervical cancer screening

July 7, 2011
The research will be presented today at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Academic Primary Care, hosted this year by the Academic Unit of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol.

Cervical disease sufferers could benefit from HPV vaccine

March 28, 2012
Women who are diagnosed with pre-cancerous cervical conditions after receiving the HPV vaccine can still benefit from a considerably reduced risk of reoccurring disease, a study published today in the British Medical Journal ...

Cervical vaccine also protects against anal cancer risk

August 23, 2011
A vaccine routinely used to shield against cervical cancer caused by the human papillomavirus also reduces women's risk of anal cancer, a study published by the journal The Lancet Oncology on Tuesday says.

Providers' attitude toward vaccinating young males against HPV may challenge new recommendations

March 13, 2012
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that a health care provider's attitude toward male human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination may influence the implementation of new guidelines. They believe ...

No evidence for potential competition between human papillomavirus types in men

November 14, 2011
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recently recommended that teenage boys be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus.

Recommended for you

Sleep quality improves with help of incontinence drug

January 12, 2018
A drug used to curtail episodes of urinary incontinence in women also improves quality of sleep, a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine reports.

Frozen embryos result in just as many live births in IVF

January 10, 2018
Freezing and subsequent transfer of embryos gives infertile couples just as much of a chance of having a child as using fresh embryos for in vitro fertilization (IVF), research from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Adelaide, ...

Study suggests air pollution breathed in the months before and after conception increases chance of birth defects

January 8, 2018
A team of researchers with the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital has found evidence that indicates that pre-and post-pregnant women living in an area with air pollution are at an increased risk of ...

Taking paracetamol during pregnancy may reduce fertility of daughters

January 5, 2018
Taking paracetamol during pregnancy may impair the future fertility of female offspring, according to a review published in Endocrine Connections. The article reviews three separate rodent studies that all report altered ...

Advanced MRI can detect placental perfusion abnormalities in pregnancies complicated by fetal CHD

January 5, 2018
In pregnancies complicated by fetal congenital heart disease (CHD), global placental perfusion was significantly decreased and regional variation of placental perfusion significantly increased as pregnancies progressed, findings ...

Recommendations to improve the quality of ultrasound imaging in obstetrics and gynecology

January 4, 2018
While ultrasound imaging is a commonly used diagnostic tool in obstetrics and gynecology, evidence suggests that the quality of ultrasound examination in clinical practice and ultrasound training in obstetrics and gynecology ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.