Two vaccines that protect against infection by some of the oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) subtypes have recently been licensed for use in population-based vaccination strategies in many countries. However, these products are being promoted as 'cervical cancer vaccines' based on inadequate data. Specifically, there remain several concerns about the duration of immunogenicity, length of follow-up of trial subjects, endpoints chosen in vaccine trials, applicability of trial results to real populations, the safety of these products, and their cost-effectiveness as public health interventions. Furthermore, it is unlikely that vaccination will obviate the need for setting up robust and cost-effective screening programs in countries like India. This article will discuss various aspects of HPV vaccination from a public health perspective, especially from the point of view of its relevance to India and other South Asian countries.
Keywords: Human papillomavirus; cervical cancer prevention; human papilloma virus vaccine; human papillomavirus; infection.