The introduction of the human papillomavirus vaccine - key issues
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced in to the national immunization programme at the beginning of the 2008/2009 school year, being offered routinely to all 12–13-year-old girls with the aim of protecting them against cervical cancer. There are two particularly high risk HPV types for which there are now highly effective vaccines available. It is estimated that with the introduction of the HPV vaccination programme the lives of over 400 women per year will be saved in the UK. This article provides insight into some of the issues surrounding the introduction of the HPV vaccine into the national immunization programme. HPV is discussed and its relation to cancer outlined. Genital warts, associated HPV transmission and treatment options are summarized. Issues associated with the vaccine, its safety, and some practical aspects are discussed.