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British doctors recommend bypassing free National Health Service vaccinations for prevention of HPV infection.

An online survey of members of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV collected responses from 407 doctors and 113 nurses and other staff in January and February 2011, to investigate their views on the two types of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. Currently administered to 12-14 year-old schoolgirls, the bivalent vaccine (Cervarix) protects them against HPV types 16 and 18, responsible for 700% of cervical cancers. However, the quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil), offers additional protection against HPV types 6 and 11, which cause over 90% of genital warts, 30% of minor cervical abnormalities, and almost all cases of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (warts on the vocal cords). 93% of respondents said they would advise paying privately for the quadrivalent vaccine, rather than accept the government-funded bivalent vaccine. Of those surveyed who had daughters in the school vaccination programme, 61% had paid for their daughters to be vaccinated with the quadrivalent vaccine, and some had given their daughters the quadrivalent vaccine after they had had the bivalent one.

In Australia, where nearly 70% of women under 28 have been vaccinated with the quadrivalent vaccine, new cases of genital warts among young women fell to almost a quarter of prevaccination levels after three years, with significant measurable effects within six months. In contrast, since England's school-based HPV vaccine programme began, there has been no significant change in numbers with genital warts, with 91,000 new cases diagnosed each year and a further 70,000 cases undergoing repeat treatment. It is estimated that the quadrivalent vaccine would save the NHS at least 46 million [pounds sterling] in costs for treating genital warts, and increase capacity to tackle more complicated STIs such as HIV. The government is set to review the

decision made by the previous government in 2008 to cover the cost only of the bivalent vaccine. The hope is that the clinical community's support for the quadrivalent vaccine, because it prevents both cervical cancer and genital warts, will convince the government to change its policy. (1)

(1.) Doctors bypass NHS for their daughters' HPV vaccination. British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) press release, 15 February 2011.

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Title Annotation:ROUND UP: Human papillomavirus
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2011
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