Vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV) are available in Europe since 2006. They have been highly effective in preventing infection and disease caused by the vaccine types. Clinical efficacy data are available for cervical, vulvovaginal and anal precancer and invasive cervical cancer. Disease reduction is best with early vaccination and a coverage of more than 70%. Gender-neutral vaccination provides direct protection for all men and improves the coverage. A good coverage is followed by herd protection of the unvaccinated men and women. School-based programs appear to be most effective; under the age of 15 years, two doses with an interval of 6-12 months are sufficient. From the age of 15 years, the standard regimen with three doses is recommended. A broad catch-up program for young adult women and men improves the effectiveness. The vaccines are also effective in sexually active women and men with previous but cleared infections. Vaccination in addition to local treatment of HPV-related disease appears to reduce recurrent or subsequent HPV-related disease. Combination of HPV vaccination and screening with HPV testing is the most effective approach to prevention of cervical cancer. The screening intervals may increase in the vaccinated cohorts. The upper age limit for vaccination remains to be evaluated, is country specific and depends on cost-effectiveness. The European Society of Gynaecologic Oncology and the European Federation for Colposcopy strongly support gender-neutral vaccination programs for children and young adolescents, with a catch-up program for young adults.
Keywords: CIN; Cervical cancer; Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; HPV; Immunity; Prevention; Vaccination.
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