Writing Exercise #3

Vaccines are a vital component to herd immunity, even when the said disease is considered to be sexual in nature, categorized as a sexually transmitted disease. The disease in question in the article “Viruses and Human Cancer: From Detection to Casualty” by Sarid and Gao is HPV, or human papillomavirus. It is unfortunately a very common disease here in the United States, with the CDC estimating nearly 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, being infected with it (1).

After having read the article by Sarid and Gao, as a healthcare professional, I would recommend the an HPV vaccine target specific strains of the virus, most notably strains 16, 18, 31, and 45. The following strains of HPV seem to be associated with the highest risks of developing cervical cancer, with nearly 80% of all patients with cervical cancer presenting with one of these strains. Since vaccines for strains 16 and 18 are already in circulation, I would recommend we work on developing vaccines that also target high-risk strains of HPV, such as strains 31 and 45.

Seeing that most patients being diagnosed with the virus are within a certain age group, late teens to early 20s, it seems it would be responsible to have individuals vaccinated before they become sexually active, preferably in their pre-pubescent years. It also goes without saying, prevention is the best medicine. Teaching safe sex would be the next step after vaccinating.

1-  Cdc.gov. (2018). STD Facts – Human papillomavirus (HPV). [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm [Accessed 20 Jan. 2018].

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