Monday, February 21, 2011 by: Neil Z. Miller
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a relatively common sexually transmitted disease passed on through genital contact, usually by sexual intercourse. Some forms of the virus can cause vaginal warts (papillomas). Other forms of the virus can cause abnormal cell growth on the lining of the cervix that years later can turn into cancer. However, the infections are usually harmless and go away without treatment. The body’s own defense system eliminates the virus. Often, women experience no signs, symptoms or health problems.
The median age of women when they are initially diagnosed with cervical cancer is 48 years. New cervical cancer cases and deaths are uncommon below the age of 35 and nearly nonexistent before the age of 20.
Cervical cancer is not as common as other types of cancer. Rates for skin cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer are much higher. In fact, women are nearly 15 times more likely to be stricken with breast cancer than with cervical cancer.
In the United States, an HPV vaccine — Gardasil — was licensed in 2006. It is designed to protect against just four of the more than 100 different HPV strains. Each dose contains polysorbate 80 and 225mcg of aluminum. In Europe, Cervarix is the licensed HPV vaccine. It is made by gene-cloning cells of Trichoplusia ni, a worm-like insect. This vaccine contains 500mcg of aluminum.
By February 2011, more than 20,500 adverse reaction reports pertaining to Gardasil were filed with the U.S. government — an average of 12 reports per day [VAERS]. Nearly half of all reports required a doctor or emergency room visit, with hundreds of teenage girls and young women needing extended hospitalization.