Historically, cervical cancer has been one of the major killers of young women. But since the advent of the pap smear, death from the disease has dropped dramatically. However, treatment of lesions identified on pap smear can lead to significant issues including infertility. And in other parts of the world where screenign is not easily accessed, cervical cancer remains a significant cause of death for women in the prime of life.
As with any disease, prevention is better than treatment, and this is where the HPV vaccine comes into play. Known mainly by its trade name, Gardasil, the vaccine has been on the market for over a decade. That's long enough to provide data to draw reasonable conclusions about its safety and efficacy.
Prevalence of HPV after introduction of vaccine
Population-Based Incidence Rates of Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia in the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Era
Safety Resources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21907257
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