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Vaccination for young women against HPV deemed a success 

Health chiefs have defended the continuing vaccination in the Canaries of young girls against the sexually transmitted infection HPV or “human papilloma virus”.

They say it has proved highly sucessful over the last ten years and justifies the cost involved.

The Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands, through the General Directorate of Public Health, introduced the vaccine against the virus a decade ago by including it in the Canary Islands Vaccination Calendar with a guideline of admi-nistration to girls of 14 years. Subsequently, in 2015 there was a modification in the new calendar decreasing the age of administration of the vaccine against HPV to girls at 12 years of age. A total of 72,863 girls have received this vaccine in the decade that has been applied.

Likewise, the vaccine against HPV is also included in the adult vaccination calendar since 2015 for women undergoing excision treatment for cervical neoplastic lesions.

The coverage of primary vaccination since the beginning of vaccination against HPV in girls has been high and has evolved from 68 pe rcent in 2009 to almost 80 per cent in 2017.

“The overall prevalence of human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in Spain in the age group of 18-65 years is 14.3 per cent, rising as age decreases, so that between 18 and 25 years it is 29 per cent,” says the health department.

“On the other hand, the sexual behaviuor of young Spanish women has changed with respect to previous generations, with an earlier start of the first sexual relations and a higher number of sexual partners. This may have contributed to the increase in the prevalence of HPV infection in recent years in Spain, mainly in young women.”

Currently available vacci-nes can provide approxi-mately 80 per cent protection in Spain against the types of human papilloma virus that produce invasive cervical cancers.