The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of cervical cancer, an infection that is transmitted sexually. Two types of HPV, types 16 and 18, are responsible for more than 70% of cervical cancer cases. The vaccine protects against the most dangerous types of the human papillomavirus (types 6, 11, 16, and 18), which prevent the development of cancers associated with these viruses and is currently the most effective means of preventing this disease.
It has been estimated that the long-term effect of HPV vaccination over 15-20 years will result in a nearly 70% reduction in mortality from cervical cancer (assuming at least 70-80% vaccination coverage of girls). In addition, the vaccination provides an economic benefit to the health care system by reducing the number of biopsies and other invasive procedures required to confirm abnormal smear test results.
The human papillomavirus vaccine is registered in over 100 countries worldwide and included in the national vaccination schedules of 20 countries, including the United States.