Collectively, the organizations had seen nearly 86,000 first-time patients in that timeframe, of whom about 9 percent were diagnosed with genital warts.
By comparing the pre-vaccination period of 2004 to mid-2007 with the vaccination period of mid-2007 through the end of 2011, the team found a remarkable plunge in genital wart rates.
Among girls under the age of 21, that drop amounted to nearly 93 percent, while among those between 21 and 30 a decline of almost 73 percent was observed.
And while no appreciable genital wart rate drop-off took place among women or men over the age of 30, among men under 30 a notable dip was observed. Specifically, among heterosexual men below 21 the drop amounted to almost 82 percent, while among those between 21 and 30 genital wart rates fell by more than 51 percent.
But is the Australian experience translatable to other countries now engaged in various types of HPV vaccination programs?
Donovan said that how well other countries will fare in efforts to dampen genital wart rates will depend on the degree of public acceptance when it comes to HPV immunization efforts.
"There was little resistance to the HPV vaccine in Australia," he noted by way of explaining the program's success. By contrast, he suggested that the American public health effort -- which he characterized as "fractured" -- may very well produce less optimistic results, given the widespread controversy and reluctance to vaccinate that arose when the prospect of immunizing young girls was first proposed.
But in other countries, where the debate has been more muted, Donovan sees better prospects. "As the U.K. is achieving vaccine coverage rates at least as high as Australia," he said, "I would be certain that they will soon be reporting comparable drops in disease."
Commenting on the report, Dr. Jocylen Glassberg, a
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