Early effects of human papillomavirus vaccination in Belgium

M. Merckx, D. Vanden Broeck, I. Benoy, C. Depuydt, S. Weyers, M. Arbyn

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has been reimbursed in Belgium since 2007 for girls (12-15 years), extended to girls up to 18 years in 2008. This study assesses the trend of HPV 16/18 infections in women less than 25 years of age participating in opportunistic cervical cancer screening. A significant reduction in the prevalence of HPV 16 [relative risk (RR)=0.61, 95% confidence interval=0.39-0.95] and a nonsignificant reduction in HPV 18 (RR=0.65, 95% confidence interval=0.29-1.48) was found in the youngest group (15-19 years). The prevalences in the older age group did not change significantly. These findings show the early effects of HPV vaccination and confirm the effectiveness of immunization in a real-life setting.