Prognosis: No Competition Yet Between HPV Types

New York Times

Vital Signs
By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
Published: November 14, 2011

The two vaccines against human papillomavirus together target the four types of HPV that cause a large majority of cervical and anal cancers. But there are more than a dozen other cancer-causing HPV types, and scientists have been concerned that as more people are vaccinated, these types could begin to flourish.

A study published online Nov. 4 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases suggests that, at least so far, there is little to worry about.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina studied 2,702 young Kenyan men, of whom 1,379 were infected with HPV. More than half of those infected had more than one type of the virus. But there was no evidence that having one of the four vaccine-preventable types decreased the likelihood of having any of the 41 other types the researchers studied.

The lead author, Anne F. Rositch, now a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that the findings indicate that infection with one specific type of HPV is not related to infection with any other type, an encouraging conclusion that had been found in previous studies in women.

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