The human papillomavirus vaccine was introduced in 2006 as a three-step vaccine series that significantly drops the risk of contracting HPV and developing cervical cancer in young women. Since the introduction of the vaccine, 100 million doses have been administered, with a 50 percent drop in the HPV rate among teenage girls.
According to Jessica Kahn, M.D., MPH, the vaccine has been proven to be safe and the side effects minor. A recent Canadian study shows that receiving two doses of the vaccine may be just as effective as getting three doses in the short term; however, the long-term effects are not known. According to Dr. Kahn, it’s too early to recommend a two-dose vaccine. HPV is the most commonly sexually transmitted disease and a leading cause of cervical and other cancers in young women. Dr. Kahn is a professor of pediatrics in the division of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and College of Medicine.