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The news from February 2019 in the world of HPV. Have we missed a story? Get in touch and let us know.

Australian Teens to Get Access to Vaccinations Without the Need for Parental Consent

As of January 2019, 14 year olds in Australia have been able to get vaccines for many different diseases without their parents’ permission. This will make it easier for people who didn’t get vaccinated at the right age to catch up on the vaccines they missed. There are many reasons they might not have been vaccinated, principally because their parents decided against getting the vaccine for them. Some of these vaccines can be received at the pharmacist, but some must be delivered through a General Practitioner. It is advised that GPs read up on the correct timetable for catch up vaccinations, as they can be different from the timetables for the vaccines to be given at the recommended age.

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Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) shows initial promise in Mexican study as ‘cure’ for HPV

In a highly promising initial study (although as yet not a peer-reviewed study) a team of researchers in Mexico have discovered a treatment for HPV that could effectively cure it.

Photodynamic therapy is a non-invasive form of treatment. It uses a drug called the ‘photosensitiser’, along with a light with a very specific wavelength, to create the treatment. When a beam of the light hits the photosensitisers, they release a type of reactive oxygen. The team are based in the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico, and have been working on this cure for the past 20 years. It is not the finished product, but it is one of the most promising and could lead to a cure for HPV and all the diseases it causes in the future.

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HPV Found Not to be Transmissible through Hands

There have been worries in the past that HPV could be transmitted by shaking hands that have come into contact with genitals. HPV can be detected in hands, which is why these worries have persisted. Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill’s University have found what they believe to be the answer: HPV is not transmissible by hand, and detecting HPV in a hand does not make the person more likely to transmit HPV to a sexual partner. One of the researchers, Dr. Talía Malagón, reported, “Just because we detect HPV DNA in the hand doesn’t necessarily mean the viral particles are viable or that there is enough to cause an infection […] The DNA might just have been deposited on the hand because a person recently had sex or touched their own genitals.” As always, the best way to stay protected against HPV is to get the HPV vaccine, a statement supported by the doctors from the study.

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Cervical Cancer Rates Increasing in Japan

According to a research group in Japan, cervical cancer rates in the country have been rising. This is most probably down to the low screening rate in Japan, and the continued suspension of the government’s recommendation of the HPV vaccine. Their findings showed that from 1976 to 2000, the rates of cervical cancer in Japan fell at a marked rate, until the 21st century, when it began to rise again. When the HPV vaccination was introduced, it was endorsed by the Japanese government, but they soon suspended recommendation following reports of side effects of the vaccine. While this is a very upsetting report from Japan, there is some good news – survival rates for cervical cancer in the country are also rising. However, this shouldn’t detract from the fact that the reinstatement of the government recommendation of the HPV vaccine would prevent many of these incidences from ever occurring..

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