Declining genital warts in young women in England associated with HPV 16/18 vaccination: An ecological study

Rebecca Howell-Jones, Katherine Soldan, Sally Wetten, David Mesher, Tim Williams, Owen Gill, Gwenda Hughes

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57 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Diagnoses of genital warts (GW) in genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics have been increasing in England for many years. In 2008, an HPV immunization program began with a bivalent vaccine (Cervarix). This was expected to markedly reduce infections and disease due to human papillomavirus (HPV) 16/18 but not HPV 6/11 infections or disease. However, from 2009 to 2011 there were decreases in reported diagnoses of GW in young females at GUM clinics.Methods. Using data from GUM clinics and a sample of general practices (GPs) throughout England, we analyzed rates of GW diagnoses by age, year of diagnosis, and estimated immunization coverage.Results. The overall reduction in GW diagnoses at GUM clinics between 2008 and 2011 was 13.3% among 16- to 19-year-old females, with the greatest decline of 20.8% in 17-year-olds. Declines were positively associated with estimated immunization coverage. A similar pattern was seen in GP diagnoses, but not among older women, and for other GUM consultations.Conclusions. Several factors might contribute to declines in GW. However, the size and pattern of the declines strongly suggest that we are observing an unexpected, moderately protective effect of HPV 16/18 vaccination against GW.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1403
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • Cervarix
  • HPV immunization
  • genital warts
  • surveillance


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