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October 1, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
A large study of the safety of the HPV vaccine has turned up no unexpected side effects. The study, published Monday in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, did find that the vaccine caused some women to faint the day they received it, and some recipients also developed skin infections. Both problems are believed to be general side effects of vaccines, and unrelated to anything specific about the HPV shot. HPV, or human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted disease among American women.
May 7, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II / For the Booster Shots blog
States that require vaccination for pertussis, meningitis and tetanus for admission to middle school have a higher vaccination rate than states that do not, but the rate is not nearly as high as one might expect from such a requirement, researchers reported Monday. States that required only that educational materials be sent home for those vaccines and the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine showed no improvement in vaccination rates. Vaccines for tetanus and pertussis are typically given during childhood, but the effects can diminish over time and a booster shot is recommended in early adolescence.
March 14, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
For generations of women, it's been an ingrained medical ritual: Get a Pap test every year. Now two influential groups of medical experts say that having cervical cancer screening once a year is not necessary and, in fact, should be discouraged. Many women can wait as long as five years between screenings, the new guidelines say. The call for screening cutbacks, released Wednesday, is based on evolving knowledge accrued over the last decade about human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease that causes most cervical cancer, and the availability of an HPV test that shows whether a woman has been infected with the most common variants of the virus.
January 30, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
HPV infects the mouths of an estimated 7% of men and women from the ages of 14 to 69 in the U.S. -- and men have it at higher rates than women, according to a study out last week in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. Just 3.6% of women studied for the paper had oral HPV, while 10.1% of men did. It's unclear why there's such a difference in infection rates, but it may have to do with oral sex practices, experts say. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides some information specifically related to HPV and men .)
January 27, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
A new study showing an estimated 7% of American teens and adults carry the human papillomavirus in their mouths may help health experts finally understand why rates of mouth and throat cancer have been climbing for nearly 25 years. The evidence makes it clear that oral sex practices play a key role in transmission. The new data, published online Thursday by the Journal of the American Medical Assn., are the first to assess the prevalence of oral HPV infection in the U.S. population.
January 5, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Some girls may be more likely to overestimate the protection they receive from the HPV vaccine, new research shows. Human papillomaviris, the most common sexually transmitted infection, can infect the genital areas of men and women, cause genital warts and raise the risk of cervical cancer. The new study, published this week by the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, looked at the perception of HPV risk among a population of 339 girls between age 13 and 21. At an average age of 16.8 years, 57.5% of these girls were sexually experienced, and most of them reported "continued need" to practice safe sex. However, a good 23.6% appeared to believe mistakenly that their risk of other sexually transmitted diseases was also lower -- even though the HPV vaccine does not protect against the rest of the pantheon of such diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea and syphilis.
December 20, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Vaccination against human papilloma virus was recommended for U.S. girls almost five years ago. In October, a government advisory committee also recommended routine vaccination for boys ages 11 and 12.   But vaccinating girls only makes the most sense, researchers said Tuesday. Using mathematical models, researchers in the Netherlands found vaccinating girls is the best way to reduce heterosexual transmission because girls have the highest prevalence of the virus. Immunizing the group with the highest prevalence achieves the largest population-wide reduction of the virus.
December 15, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
In a trial involving nearly 40,000 women in the Netherlands, testing for the human papillomavirus, or HPV, allowed doctors to detect abnormal cervical cells earlier -- and prevent more cases of cervical cancer -- than administering pap smears alone.   In the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Lancet Oncology, a team of researchers led by Dr. Chris J.L.M. Meijer of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam randomly assigned women ages 29-56 into two groups.  The first group received an HPV test as well as a pap smear; the second group, a pap smear alone.  Five years later, both groups had HPV tests and pap smears.
November 1, 2011
A government panel now recommends that the vaccine against human papillomavirus should be routinely given to boys as well as girls. Our question is: What took so long? Gardasil, the vaccine developed by Merck, protects against the HPV strains most likely to cause cervical cancer. Because its purpose is to reduce this scourge, it always made sense to treat it as a public health issue and vaccinate those who might spread the virus along with those who might actually get sick.
October 26, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
The HPV vaccine routinely should be recommended for boys and young men because it clearly cuts the risk of cell changes that can develop into anal cancer, says the author of a study published Wednesday. Data from the paper appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine was presented earlier this year to health authorities who advise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the nation's immunizationstrategy. These experts voted on Tuesday to recommend routine HPV vaccination to boys ages 11 and 12 and catch-up vaccination up to the age of 21. "The study is the first data looking at biomarkers in the development of anal cancer," said Dr. Joel Palefsky, a professor of medicine at UC, San Francisco, and the lead author of the paper.
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