Thursday, October 7, 2010

The HPV Vaccine for Teenage Girls to Help Prevent Cervical Cancer Controversy

Merck Pharmaceuticals continues to urge that all teenage girls receive this vaccine to prevent them from getting infected by the HPV virus, which is transmitted by sexual intercourse unless condoms are used. Most doctors agree that females in this age group who are sexually active, particularly with multiple partners, should be vaccinated. Last year a prominent editorial and article in the AMA journal questioned whether enough was known about the risk/benefit ratio of this vaccine and criticized the aggressive marketing campaign by Merck. There is concern that lowering the HPV virus incidence might not prevent cancer. It is not known how long the vaccine effect lasts, and significant side effects are possible.

See JAMA(click here,subscription required) 2009;302:795-6, 781-6.

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