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Vaccine Provides Herd Immunity for Oral HPV Infections

The prevalence of vaccine-type oral HPV infections declined by 37% from 2009 to 2016 among unvaccinated men, according to the findings of a recent study. The finding, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest the vaccine provides herd immunity against oral HPV infections.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009 to 2016, the researchers sought to determine whether the vaccine provided herd protection against oral HPV infections in unvaccinated men and women aged 18 to 59 years (n=13,676).
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Vaccination rates for men and women increased from 0% to 5.8% and 7.3% to 15.1%, respectively, during the study period. The prevalence of vaccine-type oral HPV infections declined from 2.7% during 2009 to 2010 to 1.6% during 2015 to 2016 in unvaccinated men, and this decline was not heterogeneous by age, the researchers said. However, the prevalence of non-vaccine-type HPV infections did not change among men. Among women, the prevalence of vaccine-type and non-vaccine-type HPV infections did not change.

“Vaccine-type oral HPV prevalence declined by 37% between 2009 to 2010 and 2015 to 2016 in a sample of unvaccinated US men aged 18 to 59 years, suggesting herd protection against oral HPV infections,” the researchers said. “Herd protection likely arises from increased levels of female HPV vaccination in the US population.

“The lack of herd protection toward oral HPV infections in unvaccinated women could reflect low statistical power due to low prevalence in women,” they added.

Reference

Chaturvedi AK, Graubard BI, Broutian T, et al. Prevalence of oral HPV infection in unvaccinated men and women in the United States, 2009-2016 [published online September 10, 2019]. JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10508

 

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