HPV vaccine reduces lesion rate in young men by 60%

Vaccination of young men with a multi-strain HPV jab reduces the occurrence of genital lesions, a US study has shown.

The quadrivalent vaccine's efficacy was tested in 4,000 young men (Photograph: SPL)
The quadrivalent vaccine's efficacy was tested in 4,000 young men (Photograph: SPL)

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, found a quadrivalent HPV vaccine prevented 60 per cent of young men with the virus from developing genital lesions.

In the UK, there has been debate over the benefits of HPV vaccination for boys after the DoH's joint committee on vaccination and immunisation ruled it was unlikely to be cost effective.

For the study, the researchers enrolled 4,065 healthy males aged 16 to 26 and randomly assigned them to receive either the quadrivalent HPV vaccine or a placebo injection.

The HPV vaccine contained protection against strains HPV-6, 11, 16 and 18. The vaccine or the placebo was administered at the start of the study, then again after two months and after six months.

Participants were checked for presence or absence of external genital lesions caused by infection with HPV.

In total, 36 external genital lesions occurred in the vaccine group, compared with 89 in the placebo group.

Researchers found that 97 per cent of participants given the vaccine had developed antibodies to the virus within a month of administration.

The efficacy of the vaccine was 66 per cent for HPV strains included in the jab. Researchers concluded the vaccine was efficacious at reducing genital lesions in males.

In an accompanying editorial, researcher Jane Kim from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston said the cost effectiveness of routine vaccination of young men 'will improve if the evidence of efficacy continues to mount'.

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New England Journal of Medicine

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