(Memphis) A controversial vaccine appears to be reducing the cancer virus in girls.
The human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to cervical cancer.
The HPV vaccine has been around since 2006.
A CDC study shows since it was first introduced HPV infections tied to cervical cancer fell more than half in U.S. girls.
That's a larger decline than government officials expected to see.
"It might be artificially good because the people at highest risk may not have gotten the vaccine, but overall it's very impressive," said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld.
Eighteen-year-old Anna Despeaus got the HPV Vaccine when she was 16.
So far, she's only had two shots in the series of three.
She says it was her mother's decision for her to get the vaccine and at the time she didn't think much about it, but as an adult she's glad she's protected.
"Because there is so much going around. It's just one more thing I don't have to worry about," said Despeaus.
Only one-third of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 have had the full series of shot to prevent the infection.
Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist with Baptist, hopes the results of this study will encourage other parents to get their daughters vaccinated.
"It's said if we could get the vaccination rate up to 80 percent, we would have a terrific drop in the number of these kinds of cases," said Threlkeld.
The CDC recommends all girls get the vaccine at 11 or 12, but the shot can be administered to women as old as 26.
The only people who should not get the shot are pregnant women or anyone who had a bad reaction to the first shot.