The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is most often promoted as a way to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts, but a new study suggests the vaccine may also help prevent cancer recurrences in women already diagnosed with HPV-related diseases.

Accodring to the CDC, at least 50 percent of sexually active people will have genital HPV at some time in their lives. Thus the organization recommends the HPV vaccine for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years, "before sexual activity has occured." But this new research show that the HPV vaccine may benefit those for whom HPV infection has already occurred.

The study, funded by the maker of the HPV vaccine and published in this week's British Medical Journal found that the vaccine reduced re-occurrence of HPV related diseases by 46 percent among women who were infected prior to vaccination.

Researchers randomly assigned more than 1,350 women diagnosed with genital warts or certain precancerous conditions to receive either three injections of the HPV vaccine or a placebo. The women were followed for about four years.

The researchers found that the women who received the vaccine had 46.2 percent lower risk of developing another HPV-related disease after treatment for their genital warts or their precancerous condition.

Can HPV vaccine help those already diagnosed with cervical cancer?
New study finds HPV vaccine may benefit those already diagnosed with genital warts or HPV-related cervical cancer.