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HPV Vaccine Has No Impact on Existing Infections

Researchers recommend that HPV-16/18 vaccine not be used as treatment in women already infected

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A vaccine developed to prevent infection with human papillomavirus virus (HPV) does not help clear the virus in women who are already infected, according to the results of a community-based study published in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Allan Hildesheim, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues tested 2,189 Costa Rican women (aged 18 to 25 years) who were positive for HPV-16 or HPV-18. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either the bivalent HPV-16/18 vaccine or a control hepatitis A vaccine. Doses were administered at enrollment, one month and six months. Specimens were collected for HPV DNA testing at six months (before the third dose) and 12 months.

At six months, viral clearance rates were 33.4 percent in the vaccine group versus 31.6 percent in the control group. At 12 months, clearance rates in the vaccine group were 48.8 percent and 49.8 percent in the control group.

The data "reinforce that women with abnormal Papanicolaou (Pap) test results or those with positive HPV DNA results should be managed according to current guidelines and that HPV vaccine does not have a role in treatment," Lauri E. Markowitz, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, writes in an editorial.

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