England: jab drives HPV to lowest level in 12 years

20 March 2020

Cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are now at a very low level in young, sexually active women in England, following the introduction of the HPV vaccination in 2008.

HPV16 and 18 infections were found in less than 2% of 16- to 18-year-old women between 2014 and 2018, new data from Public Health England (PHE) shows. In a sample of 584 young women tested in 2018, no HPV16 or 18 infections were detected.

This is a dramatic reduction from 2008, when over 15% of young sexually active women were found to be infected.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at PHE, said: ‘This is clear evidence of the success of our immunisation programme, which continues to achieve high coverage.

‘With millions of young women protected by HPV vaccination, we expect to see big reductions in cervical cancer in years to come and the introduction of the boys’ programme will accelerate this progress.’

Image credit | Alamy