Study: HPV vaccinations need to be started at a young age

Swedish researchers said last week that starting human papillomavirus - or HPV - vaccinations at a young age is key to maximize the vaccine's effectiveness.

The Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinsko Institute in Stockholm's Amy Level and her colleagues examined a group of women living in Sweden between the ages of 10 and 44 from 2006-10 who were linked to multiple population registers to identify genital wart incidence in relation to HPV vaccination, UPI reports.

According to the study, which was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, unvaccinated females 20 years of age and older had a decreased incidence of genital warts, which suggests that women with a high risk of genital warts favorably used HPV vaccines.

The study, however, was not without limitations.

"Interpreting the crude estimates of effectiveness for those age 20 or older at first vaccination is difficult because we found evidence suggesting a self-selection bias with women at high risk preferentially seeking vaccination," the authors said, according to UPI.

HPV vaccination campaigns have been launched around the globe in recent years to prevent cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers.

HPV is the most common type of sexually transmitted infection. More than 40 types of HPV can infect both men and women. In women, the infection can cause cervical cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.