A new study concludes that women over the age of 40 are unlikely to benefit from an HPV vaccine.
Researchers tracked the experiences of 9,000 Costa Rican women ages 19 to 97 years, screening them for HPV infections, which can trigger cervical cancer. The rate of newly detected infections plunge from 35 percent for women 19 to 25 to 13.5 percent for women over the age of 42. Typically those infections cleared up without treatment.
"Because the HPV vaccine can only prevent infections, and these women are not getting that many new infections, the potential benefit of HPV vaccination among older women is very limited," says Dr. Ana Cecilia Rodríguez, the lead author.