Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of several hundred viruses comprising the Papillomaviridae family, of which at least 13 types are known to be responsible for cervical and other anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers. There is a large body of evidence substantiating the causal role of certain high-risk subtypes of HPV in the development of cervical cancer. Since persistent (>5 years) HPV infection with one of the high-risk genotypes has been proven to be a prerequisite for the development of HPV-related cancers, prophylactic vaccines have been developed in recent years to prevent against the future development of cancer or its precursors. The vaccines contain no live biological products or viral DNA and, thus, do not cause active infection. Since HPV vaccination started to be included in national vaccination policies, evidence has accumulated showing a significant positive impact of HPV vaccination against genital warts, cervical abnormalities, and HPV prevalence. Side effects of HPV vaccination are minor and infrequent. Scientific evidence of HPV vaccination efficacy is reviewed here, and perspectives for the future are addressed.
Human papillomavirus HPV Cervical cancer Genital warts Vaccination
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