July 6, 2010
Rates of new genital wart infection in Australia have plummeted, research shows, in an early positive sign of the success of mass Gardasil vaccinations.
Gardasil works by preventing the transmission of four strains of the Human papillomavirus (HPV), two of which cause cervical cancer and two which cause genital warts.
Experts say while its effect on cervical cancer rates would take longer to materialise, the vaccine’s ability to prevent a less serious though embarrassing problem was now clear.
“Genital warts are distressing to the patient, as well as being difficult and expensive to treat,” said Professor Basil Donovan, head of the Sexual Health Program at the University of NSW’s National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research.
“While we knew from clinical trials that the vaccine was highly effective, Australia is the first country in the world to document a major benefit for the population as a whole.”