Revised WHO position on human papillomavirus vaccines
24 October 2014 - In an updated position paper published today, WHO revised the number of doses recommended for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for different age groups.
WHO reiterates its recommendation that HPV vaccines should be included in national immunization programmes, provided that: prevention of cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases constitutes a public health priority; vaccine introduction is programmatically feasible; sustainable financing can be secured; and the cost-effectiveness of vaccination strategies in the country or region is considered.
For the first time WHO is issuing recommendations, based on the available evidence, on the use of a screen and treat approach using visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for screening and treatment with cryotherapy, or when feasible HPV testing followed by treatment. These recommendations are published in the new WHO guidelines for screening and treatment of precancerous lesions for cervical cancer prevention.
Cancer of the cervix is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, with about 500 000 new cases and 250 000 deaths each year. Almost 80% of cases occur in low-income countries.
New technological developments offer the potential to tackle cervical cancer in a more comprehensive way and build a healthier future for girls and women. Comprehensive cervical cancer prevention and control - a healthier future for girls and women is a new WHO guidance note for senior policy makers and programme managers.
Scaling-up services for cervical cancer prevention and control in low income countries is achievable
A demonstration project led by WHO in six African countries in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and the International Agency for Research on Cancer showed the feasibility of integrating visual inspection with acetic acid followed by cryotherapy as a “see and treat” approach to prevent and control cervical cancer in primary health care and reproductive health services. As a result each country involved has presented and started to implement a budgeted plan to scale-up these services nationwide.