to the editor: A news release that I received recently from the Minnesota Department of Health states that the primary purpose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is to prevent cancer. However, the AFP CME quiz question for this article says that HPV vaccination has not been shown to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. I am a little confused now. Can you provide me with evidence-based information on which is correct?
in reply: Existing HPV vaccines provide protection against high-risk HPV types that are known to cause cervical dysplasia, which leads to cervical cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine HPV vaccination at 11 to 12 years of age1 based on randomized controlled trials that demonstrate effective prevention against precancerous cervical lesions (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 and 3).2,3 Because invasive cervical cancer is rare in the United States, studies have not yet established an association between HPV vaccination and a lower incidence of cervical cancer. However, the intent of HPV vaccination is ultimately to prevent cervical cancer.