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Vaccine does not "treat" HPV

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will not help those women already infected with HPV, a study shows.

HPV vaccines were always designed to prevent not treat HPV infections and the development of cancer, but some researchers have suggested that it could help women already infected. Allan Hildesheim says this is not the case.

A study of 2,189 women aged 18 to 25 years who tested positive for HPV found that the vaccine failed to offer any benefit.

After a year, HPV clearance was similar in women given the HPV and a control vaccine, at 48.8% and 49.8%, respectively.

The vaccine also had no effect on the extent of disease, antibody results, cytologic results and HPV viral load.

The study authors write: "Our results demonstrate that in women positive for HPV, HPV vaccination does not accelerate clearance of the virus and should not be used for purposes of treating prevalent infections."

The study was publihsed in the lates issue of the Journal of American Medical Association.