The U.S. Food and Drug Authority has adjusted the age range of women and men who can get the HPV vaccine Gardasil.
The vaccine has previously been approved to be administered from the age of 9 up to 26, but doctors usually stop advising older adults to get their shots. The recent change will finally allow men and women aged 27 up to 45 to be protected from certain strains of human papillomavirus or HPV and a few types of cancers.
HPV Vaccination Age Range Expanded
"Today's approval represents an important opportunity to help prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers in a broader age range," said Peter Marks, the director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that HPV vaccination prior to becoming infected with the HPV types covered by the vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90 percent of these cancers, or 31,200 cases every year, from ever developing."
Gardasil can protect individuals from nine types of HPV that are responsible for developing cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers. Other types, meanwhile, cause genital warts in males and females.
The vaccine is administered as two or three shots spread over a couple of months. In a study, Gardasil was proven to be 88 percent effective in the prevention of persistent infections of HPV, genital warts, vulvar precancerous lesions, vaginal precancerous lesions, cervical precancerous lesions, and cervical cancer.
The study involved about 3,200 women, aged 27 to 45. Researchers observed and checked volunteers for 3.5 years.
HPV In The United States
HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, most commonly through sex. There are over 150 types of related viruses, most of which might not show symptoms or go away on its own. However, when left untreated, some turn into more serious problems such as cancer.
According to the CDC, nearly 80 million people in the United States are currently living with HPV. Around 14 million new cases, including in teens, are reported every year. Public health officials also estimate that around 80 percent of the population will get at least one type of HPV in their lifetimes.