Human papilloma viruses (HPV) belong to the papillomaviridae family, they are double stranded DNA viruses. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the world (Urman et al. 2008). HPV is strongly associated with cervical cancer; more than 99% what are the other causes/factors please???????? of cervical cancer cases are positive for HPV DNA and indeed, cervical cancer is the second most common malignancy in the world (Wang et al. 2007). In developed countries the incidence of cervical cancer has been reduced significantly by the introduction of a cervical screening programme. In developing countries where 83% of mortalities due to cervical cancer occur, there are no such programmes (Parkin et al. 2006). Can the introduction of a vaccine against HPV further reduce globally the incidence of cervical cancer?
Many diseases caused by viruses are controlled in the developed world by ongoing successful vaccination programmes; Polio, Measles, Mumps and Rubella are a few examples. Smallpox caused by Variola virus was eradicated in 1979 through a successful worldwide vaccination programme. The factors that affect the Polio and MMR vaccine programmes success and those that affected the successful smallpox programme may also be contributory to the success of the HPV vaccination program. Vaccination of HPV is complex and multi factorial. This investigation studies a number of factors including:
* Vaccine efficacy
* Vaccine Cost/affordability/practicality of administration
* Production and Distribution
* Government backing and financial commitment
* Other support organisations such as the WHO, UNICEF, Gates Foundation,
* Social factors
* Media effects
* Public awareness
* Safety, and perceived fears
Currently two prophylactic vaccines against HPV types 16 and 18, the most prevalent causes of HPV have been approved by the food and drug administration (FDA). Many developed countries have already introduced vaccination programmes using one of these vaccines. Can the vaccines and programme prevent cervical cancer? In order to effectively understand the implication of such a vaccination programme we must first fully examine the causative agent (HPV) and the consequential potential diseases including the biology, history and prevalence.
Approximately 200 types of HPV are identified of which around 40 infect the genital tract (McCance 2004). The majority of HPV types cause no symptoms, some types can cause warts and a minority may lead to cancer. Genital HPVs are transmitted via sexual contact, mainly intercourse, with an infected individual, and the risk of developing an HPV infection generally increases with the number of sexual partners, the sexual history of that partner or the introduction of a new sexual partner. Studies have shown that at least one type of HPV infection occurs soon after sexual debut, with around 30% of women infected with at least one high risk type within two years (Winer et al 2003; Winer et al 2008).
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