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||Invited commentary: multiple human papillomavirus infections and type replacement-anticipating the future after human papillomavirus vaccination.
||Safaeian M, Rodriguez AC
||Am J Epidemiol
||2014 Dec 1
||Prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination with 3 doses of either of 2 commercially available vaccines is highly efficacious in preventing infections with the most carcinogenic types of HPV (HPV 16 and HPV 18) at the cervix and other anatomical sites at which HPV-related cancers develop. Concern has been raised that eradicating the most virulent HPV types, 16 and 18, could result in 1 or more of the types that are not targeted by the vaccine occupying the ecological niche created by the elimination of these types, referred to as type replacement. In this issue of the Journal, Yang et al. (Am J Epidemiol. 2014;180(11):1066-1075) report on concurrent infections with multiple HPV types in unvaccinated women who underwent cervical screening in New Mexico (December 2007-April 2009) to identify possible interactions between HPV types, which if present could suggest the possibility of type replacement. Consistent with previous reports, they show minimal type-specific interactions among women with normal cytology, which they consider an indication that type replacement of HPV 16/18 is unlikely to be an issue in the general population postvaccination. Type replacement may be of less concern with the introduction of multivalent vaccines that include most of the carcinogenic HPV types; continued surveillance postvaccination should improve our understanding of the impact of HPV vaccination on type distribution and screening performance.