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HPV testing and vaccination less beneficial for older women

Category: Female Specific Tests

A recent study has found that older women benefit less from frequent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations and screenings than do younger women. Additionally, researchers found that new infections in women of any age rarely progressed to cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or 3, which are precursors for cervical cancer.

In the 7-year study, researchers from the Proyecto Epidemiologico Guanacaste in San Jose, Costa Rica screened more than 9,000 women of varying ages. They found that the rate of new HPV infections declined with age and that the benefits for vaccination were very low among women over the age of 41.

Newly detected cancer-causing infections occurred in 35 percent of women aged 18 to 25 and in only 13.5 percent of women aged 42 and older.

"In a given population with an average age at first sexual intercourse of around 15 to 17 years, to vaccinate women after the age of 30 is not cost-efficient," said study author Ana Cecilia Rodriguez, quoted by Medscape Today.

"Women are not getting that many new infections; therefore, the residual benefit provided by the vaccine is very small," she concluded.

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