A recent BBC article contained some uplifting news regarding the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. Researchers in Scotland found that in the 10 years the HPV vaccine has been used, it has exceeded expectations by decreasing cases of pre-cancerous cells by 90%. The vaccine is routinely given to schoolgirls in the UK at the age of 12 or 13. There are more than 100 types of HPV, and it doesn’t always cause symptoms, but 99.7% of cervical cancers are linked to HPV infection.
Interestingly, unvaccinated women also experienced a decrease in disease, a phenomenon known as herd immunity. It occurs when a large percentage of a population becomes immune to infection, which in turn protects other individuals who are not immune.