Study Tracks Rate of Cervical Cancer Virus
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 28, 2007
CHICAGO, Feb. 27 (AP) — One in four women ages 14 to 59 is infected with HPV, the sexually transmitted virus that in some forms can cause cervical cancer, according to the first broad national estimate.
The figure, reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is mostly in line with previous assessments. “We expected the prevalence of any HPV infection would be high, and that’s what we found,” said Dr. Eileen Dunne, the lead author.
Just 3.4 percent of the women studied had infections with one of the four human papillomavirus strains that a new vaccine protects against. But that does not mean the vaccine should be written off, said Dr. Yvonne Collins, an assistant professor of gynecologic cancer at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She pointed out that that percentage represents about three million women.
The number of women with HPV strains covered by the vaccine was lower than in other estimates. The overall HPV prevalence among the youngest women studied, 14- to 24-year-olds, was substantially higher than in previous estimates, 7.5 million versus 4.6 million.
Women ages 20 to 24 had the highest overall HPV prevalence in the study, 44.8 percent. Prevalence increased each year from ages 14 to 24, then dropped off gradually, confirming that young, sexually active women face the greatest risk.
The report is to appear on Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
apropos of recent flamewars (HPV prevalence lower than previous estimates)
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