Medical Experts from Armenia and the Diaspora Unite for Preventing HPV

Yerevan hosted “Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination. Global Experience and the Local Context,” a panel discussion with leading experts from Armenia and the Diaspora. The discussion on the prevention of HPV brought together more than 200 Armenian doctors and provided an important platform for exchanging experiences and establishing working relations.

The panel discussion was held within the 5th International Medical Congress of Armenia (5IMCA) to present the global trends of one of the most critical healthcare issues – the prevention of HPV and diseases associated with it in Armenia’s context. HPV causes diseases such as cervical cancer, tumors of the genital region and of the oral cavity, and laryngeal cancers.

 

The speakers of the panel were epidemiologist Arman Badalyan (Armenia), infectious disease expert Daniel Stamboulian (Argentina), urogynecologist Samuel Badalian (USA), obstetrician-gynecologist Georgi G. Okoev (Armenia), and gynecologic oncologist Vahe Ter-Minasyan (Armenia). More than 200 medical professions (pediatricians, gynecologists, oncologists, epidemiologists, researchers, representatives of health NGOs and international organizations, etc.) attended the panel discussion and had the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists.

Ara Babloyan, the scientific director of “Arabkir” Joint Institute and Medical Center of Child and Adolescent Health, and the chair of the Armenian Medical International Committee (AMIC) Vigen Sepilian moderated the discussion. The organizers of the panel discussion were the RA Ministry of Health, FIDEC Armenia Foundation, and 5IMCA Organizing Committee. Lorky Libaridian MD provided major support to the organization of this event.

“As a founding director of the Institute of Child and Adolescent Health, and healthcare manager for years, I assert without a doubt that vaccination in general, including vaccination against HPV, is the best investment in public health,” said Ara Babloyan in his opening remarks.

80% people contract HPV infections at some point in their lifetime. According to the World Health Organization, HPV infects more than 500,000 women annually, and about half of them die of HPV-caused diseases. The global experience and clinical research show that HPV vaccination prevents from diseases caused by HPV, and reduces the risk of cervical cancers by 70-80%.

“In Argentina, HPV vaccination has been implemented since 2011 among 11-year-old girls, and since 2017 among boys as well. So far, having used about 4 million doses in Argentina, HPV vaccination has not caused any serious side effects,” stated Dr. Daniel Stamboulian, Argentinean Armenian infectious diseases specialist, and the founder and director of FIDEC (Fighting Infectious Diseases in Emerging Countries). He added that FIDEC Foundation, which currently works on preventing infectious diseases in developing countries, collaborates with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and is coordinating an epidemiological study to evaluate the prevalence of HPV infections among young women in Armenia.

Since 2006, more than 270 million doses of HPV vaccination have been given orldwide. Globally 82 countries have included HPV vaccination in their national calendar, 11 countries have done so also for boys.

Published in The Lancet (Published: June 26, 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30298-3), a meta-analysis of 65 studies including data of 60 million individuals in 14 high-income countries finds significant decreases in HPV infections, anogenital wart diagnoses and precancerous cervical lesions (CIN2+) over the 8-9 years after girls-only HPV vaccination.  The meta-analysis showed that infections of HPV types 16 and 18 mong girls 13-19 year of age decreased by 83%, and among 20-24-year olds by 66%. The results of longer-term surveillance demostrate the effects of HPV vaccination on precancerous conditions. After vaccination, precancerous conditions have drastically dropped among 15-19-year old girls and women by 51%, and by 31% in the 20-24 year old age group.

 

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