Danes are better protected against HPV than Norwegians

Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

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Danish girls and women are better protected against the effects of HPV infection than their Norwegian counterparts and the reason is the broader approach towards vaccination, according to the findings from a new study.

The recent study, published by Science Direct, shows that fewer women and men are affected by genital warts in both Denmark and Norway but that the decline is considerably greater in Denmark.

“This is one of the first signs of how well the HPV vaccine works in the population and it is also clear that Denmark has had a good effect of vaccinating several age groups at the same time,” said researcher and consultant Mari Nygård at the Cancer Registry. She is also one of the authors behind the study.

Free vaccine
The study compares the prevalence of genital warts in Denmark and Norway in 2015, six years after the HPV vaccine was free for twelve-year-old girls.

Both Norway and Denmark introduced the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, through the 2009 child vaccination programme offered to 12-year-old girls. In addition, Denmark introduced early so-called “collection vaccination”, where several age groups were given the opportunity to be vaccinated at the same time. Norway waited until 2016 when older girls were offered the vaccine for free. This is the explanation the researchers point to as the reason for the less prevalence of genital warts in Denmark.

“Gratifying” to see decline in HPV-related diseases

“We see that Norwegian girls and women are not as well protected from the consequences of HPV infection as the Danish ones,” said Nygård.

She added that she believes Norway’s prevention of HPV-related diseases is at least a decade behind Denmark but also emphasizes that it is gratifying to see that the prevalence is declining in both countries, suggesting that the vaccine is effective.

The vaccine targets the HPV virus, short for human papillomavirus. There is a large group of viruses consisting of more than 100 different types and about 40 are sexually transmitted. Some of the viruses cause warts on fingers and toes. The vaccine reduces the risk of developing cervical and other HPV-related cancers.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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