BMJ Open 6:e009915 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009915
  • Infectious diseases
    • Research

Continuing reductions in HPV 16/18 in a population with high coverage of bivalent HPV vaccination in England: an ongoing cross-sectional study

  1. Kate Soldan1
  1. 1HIV & STI Department, Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control, Public Health England, London, UK
  2. 2Virus Reference Department, Public Health England, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology & Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to David Mesher; david.mesher{at}
  • Received 7 September 2015
  • Revised 30 October 2015
  • Accepted 17 November 2015
  • Published 11 February 2016


Objectives The human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme in England was introduced in 2008. Monitoring changes in type-specific HPV prevalence allows assessment of the population impact of this vaccination programme.

Methods Residual vulva-vaginal swab specimens were collected from young sexually active women (aged 16–24 years) attending for chlamydia screening across England. Specimens were collected between 2010 and 2013 for type-specific HPV-DNA testing. HPV prevalence was compared to a similar survey conducted in 2008 prior to the introduction of HPV vaccination.

Results A total of 7321 specimens collected in the postvaccination period, and 2354 specimens from the prevaccination period were included in this analysis. Among the individuals aged 16–18 years, with an estimated vaccination coverage of 67%, the prevalence of HPV16/18 infection decreased from 17.6% in 2008 to 6.1% in the postvaccination period. Within the postvaccination period, there was a trend towards lower HPV16/18 prevalence with higher vaccination coverage and increasing time since vaccine introduction from 8.5% in the period 2–3 years postvaccination to 4.0% in the period 4–5 years postvaccination. The prevalence of HPV31 reduced from 3.7% in the prevaccination period to 0.9% after vaccine introduction, although this no longer reached statistical significance after additional consideration of the uncertainty due to the assay change. Smaller reductions were seen in the individuals aged 19–21 years with lower estimated vaccination coverage, but there was no evidence of a reduction in the older unvaccinated women. Some overall increase in non-vaccine types was seen in the youngest age groups (ORs (95% CI); 1.3 (1.0 to 1.7) and 1.5 (1.1 to 2.0) for individuals aged 16–18 and 19–21 years, respectively, when adjusted for known population changes and the change in assay) although this should be interpreted with caution given the potential unmasking effect.

Conclusions These data demonstrate a reduction in the HPV vaccine types in the age group with the highest HPV vaccination coverage.

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