, Newburyport, MA


July 9, 2013

What New England's talking about


– Brattleboro (Vt.) Reformer, July 3, 2013

A new vaccine is proving remarkably effective against certain sexually transmitted infections in teenage girls. Introduced in 2006, the vaccine protects against dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer.

A study published June 19 by the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that the vaccine cut infection rates among girls ages 14 to 19 by half. Although only about half the teens were vaccinated, and only a third got the full, three-dose course, the infection rate fell from 7.2 percent in 2006 to 3.6 percent in 2010.

That means thousands fewer will contract cervical cancer in later life, or die from the disease.

Despite encouragement from doctors, some parents have refused to let their daughters be vaccinated. The vaccine is considered most effective if administered before girls become sexually active. Some parents fear, without foundation, that it will encourage promiscuity. Others fear side effects for which there is no scientific evidence.

At about $130 per dose, the vaccine is costly. However, under federal health care reform, insurers will shortly be required to offer it for free.

Ensuring that girls receive this vaccine is vital.

– The Providence (R.I.) Journal, July 5, 2013

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