A study published in The Lancet has found that after five to eight years of vaccination, the prevalence of HPV 16 and 18 decreased significantly by 83% in girls aged 13 to 19 years, and decreased significantly by 66% among women aged 20 to 24 years.

The review and meta-analysis includes data from 60 million individuals and up to eight years of post-vaccination follow-up, showing compelling evidence of the substantial impact of HPV vaccination programmes on HPV infections and CIN2+ among girls and women, and on anogenital warts diagnoses among girls, women, boys, and men.

The findings show that cervical cancer could potentially be “eliminated” within decades, based on the study which showed a fall in HPV cases and in pre-cancerous growths.

The study, which was a systematic review and meta-analysis of the population-level impact of vaccinating girls and women against human papillomavirus on HPV infections, anogenital wart diagnoses, and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2+, summarised recent evidence about the effectiveness of HPV vaccines in real-world settings and to quantify the impact of multiple age-cohort vaccination.

Not only was the HPV virus affected, but anogenital wart diagnoses decreased significantly by 67% among girls aged 15 to 19 years, decreased by 54% among women aged 20 to 24 years, and decreased significantly by 31% among women aged 25 to 29 years.

Men are also set to benefit, as among boys aged 15 to 19 years anogenital wart diagnoses decreased significantly by 48% and among men aged 20 to 24 years they decreased by 32%.

Professor Marc Brisson, from Laval University, Canada, who led the review, told the BBC: "We will see reductions in women aged 20-30 within the next 10 years."

He also said that cervical cancer elimination - defined as fewer than four cases per 100,000 - "might be possible if sufficiently high vaccination coverage can be achieved and maintained".