Vaccine is the best way to fight HPV, a dose of an immunizing agent already prevents cervical cancer, says WHO – Agência AIDS

One dose of HPV vaccine is enough to provide strong protection against cervical cancer. The conclusion is the World Health Organization (SAGE) Strategic Advisory Group on Immunization. This is expected to increase vaccination coverage and change disease prevention.

According to the group, the protection provided by a single dose of the vaccine against the cervical cancer virus HPV is comparable to the two or three doses currently used.

Cervical cancer is considered a “silent killer” that can be prevented almost completely with a vaccine. Globally, however, compliance with vaccines has been slow and low, according to the WHO. In 2020, global coverage with two doses was only 13%. Practically insignificant figure in relation to the target of 90% coverage.

Contributing factors include delivery and program challenges, the cost of two-dose delivery, and the relatively high cost of HPV vaccines, especially in middle-income countries.

Vaccinations in Brazil

In Brazil, the National Immunization Program (PNI) provides the vaccine to 9- to 15-year-old girls and 11 to 14-year-old boys. Nevertheless, the vaccination coverage of the two doses is low. In 2020, the index was 40% for girls and 30% for boys. On the other hand, the coverage of the first dose was higher, especially in girls: 70%. For boys, it was only 40 percent.

More than 95% of cervical cancers are caused by sexually transmitted HPV, the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, and 90% of these women live in low- and middle-income countries.

Immunocompromised individuals, including HIV patients, should receive three doses, if possible, and at least two doses if not. There is limited evidence for the efficacy of a single dose in this group.

– The difference between the age groups of men and women is explained by the fact that men are the main mediators of HPV and symptoms such as genital warts, nodules or ulcers in the penis, anus, mouth or throat appear more quickly. In women, the progression of the disease is slow. For example, cervical cancer can appear 10 to 15 years after the first contact with the HPV virus. Vaccination helps control and reduce symptoms, ”explains Amanda Reis, immunization manager at Healthtech Beep.

“I firmly believe that eliminating cervical cancer is possible. This single-dose recommendation could take us faster towards our goal of 90% of girls being vaccinated by the age of 15 by 2030, ”said Dr. Princess Nothemba (Nono) Simelela, WHO Deputy Director-General.

Vaccination resists some prejudice

Expert Juarez Cunha, president of the Brazilian Immunization Association (SBIm), warned in an interview with the IG that the only way to stop the figures is through vaccination, which unfortunately resists some prejudice.

“Many people think that vaccination stimulates the sex life. The purpose of the vaccine is to close the door on cancer, not open the door to sex. It is a disease prevention that can be very serious. We prevent diseases that cause many deaths, especially among women.”

In addition to young people, SUS’s list of beneficiaries also includes a weakened immune response – men up to 26 years old and women under 45 years old. Healthy adults can also get vaccinated, but only in a private network.

After vaccination, the use of a condom for sexual purposes and ongoing preventive testing, such as pap tests, are the best way to avoid infection or start treatment quickly.

The WHO aims to eliminate cervical cancer worldwide by 2030. However, Dr. Juarez’s figures in Brazil are well below expectations.

Aids Agency newsroom with information about Jornal O Globo and the IG portal

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