Rates of HPV drop significantly following vaccine

A new report shows rates of human papillomavirus diagnosed among Australian men and women dropped by 13 per cent in just six years, thanks to the cervical cancer vaccination.

A report released yesterday by the Kirby Institute in NSW showed 14 per cent of women were diagnosed with genital warts in 2007, compared to just 0.5 per cent in 2013, following the introduction of Gardasil in 2007.

The drop in rates was similar for Australian men, with figures showing 14 per cent were diagnosed with genital warts in 2007, compared to just one per cent in 2013.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the research reinforced the success of the HPV vaccination, which had almost eliminated the virus in Australia.

“This research hails the success of the world-leading Gardasil vaccine in protecting young men and women from human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“It’s imperative that all eligible young people receive the full course of the vaccine – taking preventive action against HPV is vital and could save a young person’s life in years to come.”

The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes around 90 per cent of anal cancers, 35 per cent of penile cancers and 60 per cent of oropharyngeal cancers (cancer of the back of the throat, including tongue and tonsils) in Australia*.

Cancer Council Queensland urged all women to undergo regular pap smears, even after receiving the HPV vaccination.

“Receiving the Gardasil vaccination doesn’t offer full protection against cervical cancer – all women aged 18 to 70 years who have ever been sexually active must ensure they undergo Pap smear tests every two years.

“Early detection of cervical cancer by Pap smear testing remains the best weapon to combat the morbidity and mortality associated with the disease.

“If every eligible woman had a Pap smear every two years, 90 per cent of cervical cancer could be prevented.”

About 56 per cent of Queensland women currently participate in screening, compared to a national average of about 58 per cent.

A Pap smear test is designed to detect early changes in the cells of the cervix which may later lead to cancer.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171

*Cancer Council Australia – http://www.hpvvaccine.org.au/parents/parents-what-is-hpv.aspx?link=home