Why would the CDC use self-collected specimens to determine the prevalence of HPV viruses in the US?
June 26, 4:10 AMVaccines ExaminerNorma Erickson
In order to judge the efficacy of any vaccine, you must have a reference point against which to measure future changes and/or deviations. This reference point is called a baseline. Baselines are also used to monitor safety and/or make policy decisions regarding medical treatments, medications and vaccines. If one intends to make sound future decisions, a good baseline is essential.
Both HPV vaccines currently on the market target specific strains of HPV. The only way to tell whether these vaccines do their job as intended is to know how prevalent the targeted strains of HPV are in a population prior to beginning vaccinations.
Both Gardasil and Cervarix target two strains of HPV that are linked to cervical cancer. Therefore, it would only make sense to determine the types of HPV present in and around the cervix. In order to do this you would need to take a sample for analysis similar to the way a sample is taken for a Pap smear.
How many women across the United States take their own sample to the gynecologist for examination? None! Why not? If you have ever experienced a Pap smear, you know the answer.
When government sponsored studies were conducted in the United States to determine the prevalence of HPV linked to cervical cancer, did they survey board certified gynecologists? No!
Instead, they studied women recruited into a mobile examination center and asked for self-collected vaginal swabs for HPV analysis.