Survey for all women and anyone with a cervix: HPV-related cancer awareness

Positive Life in partnership with Femfatales, the National Network of Women Living with HIV, 2018

All women and anyone with a cervix in Australia, both HIV-positive and HIV-negative, are invited to take an online, anonymous survey about awareness of HPV and related cancers.

Positive Life NSW in partnership with Femfatales, the National Network of Women Living with HIV, has developed a survey to assess levels of HPV-related cancer awareness among women.

The results of this survey will help them better understand how they can support women to prevent HPV-related cancer and how they can support women in recovery from HPV-related cancer. The responses will also assist in the development of targeted educational resources for immunocompromised women and women living with HIV, who are three times more likely to develop cervical cancer. No identifying information will be collected.

The online survey will take approximately eight minutes to complete. If you require a hard-copy of the survey, they can mail some to you with reply paid envelopes: please feel free to contact Katya on (02) 9206 2178 or at KatyaS@positivelife.org.au

Disclaimer – the responsibility for the ethical aspects of this survey are with the organisation Positive Life NSW. SHINE SA accepts no responsibility or liability for the survey.

Gardasil 9 now on the National Immunisation Program

AJP, 9th Oct 2017

The Government has announced free access for young people to the improved HPV vaccine.

From 2018, Gardasil 9, which protects against nine HPV strains (up from four) will be offered through school-based immunisation programs to all 12 to 13-year-old boys, and girls in years seven or eight.

Sexually active older Australian’s knowledge of STIs & safer sexual practices

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2017  doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12655

Lyons, A., Heywood, W., Fileborn, B., Minichiello, V., Barrett, C., Brown, G., Hinchliff, S., Malta, S. and Crameri, P.

Abstract:

Objective: Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are rising among older Australians. We conducted a large survey of older people’s knowledge of STIs and safer sexual practices.

Methods: A total of 2,137 Australians aged 60 years and older completed the survey, which included 15 questions assessing knowledge of STIs and safer sexual practices. We examined both levels of knowledge and factors associated with an overall knowledge score.

Results: In total, 1,652 respondents reported having sex in the past five years and answered all knowledge questions. This group had good general knowledge but poorer knowledge in areas such as the protection offered by condoms and potential transmission modes for specific STIs. Women had better knowledge than men. Men in their 60s, men with higher education levels, and men who thought they were at risk of STIs reported better knowledge than other men. Knowledge was also better among men and women who had been tested for STIs or reported ‘other’ sources of knowledge on STIs.

Conclusions: Many older Australians lack knowledge of STIs and safer sexual practices.

Implications for public health: To reverse current trends toward increasing STI diagnoses in this population, policies and education campaigns aimed at improving knowledge levels may need to be considered.

  • Access full text (open access) here 

Healthy Communities: HPV immunisation rates in 2014–15

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017

Immunisation against the highly contagious human papillomavirus (HPV) can prevent cervical and other cancers, and other HPV-related diseases. The National HPV Vaccination Program has been immunising adolescent girls since 2007 and was extended to boys in 2013.

This third Healthy Communities report on HPV immunisation shows the percentage of girls aged 15 across 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas who were fully immunised against HPV in 2014–15. For the first time, the percentage of boys fully immunised are also shown by PHN area.

The report finds that in 2014–15:

  • Nationally, nearly 79% of girls aged 15 were fully immunised against HPV, an increase from 74% in 2013–14 and 72% in 2012–13
  • There remains relatively large variation in HPV immunisation rates for girls across PHN areas, ranging from 86% of girls fully immunised in Murrumbidgee (NSW) to 67% in Tasmania
  • Nationally, 67% of boys aged 15 were fully immunised against HPV and across PHN areas percentages ranged from 78% in Gippsland (Vic) to 57% in the Northern Territory.

Download Healthy Communities: HPV immunisation rates in 2014–15 (PDF, 3.5 MB)

New study shows HPV vaccine is working to reduce rates of genital warts

The Conversation, March 29, 2017 6.04am AEDT

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced in Australia in 2007 and New Zealand in 2008 to prevent cervical cancer. It was free for women up to age 26 in Australia and to all women under 20 in New Zealand. This is because 99.7% of cervical cancers are associated with the sexually transmissible infection.

There is mounting evidence the HPV vaccination program is preventing cervical disease. But the human papillomavirus is also responsible for causing genital warts. Despite a range of questions about the vaccine’s efficacy in this area, a recent New Zealand study has shown a large reduction in genital warts.

  • Read more here
  • View study abstract here

Changes to cervical screening in Australia, new guidelines

Cancer Screening, Australian Government,  Page last updated: 01 March 2017

Based on new evidence and better technology, the National Cervical Screening Program will change from 1 December 2017 to improve early detection and save more lives.

The Renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program will be implemented on 1 December 2017.  Until the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is implemented, our world-class cervical cancer screening program will continue.

From 1 December 2017, the two yearly Pap test for women aged 18 to 69 will change to a five-yearly human papillomavirus (HPV) test for women aged 25 to 74. Women will be due for the first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap test.

The changes include:

• women will be invited when they are due to participate via the National Cancer Screening Register

• the Pap smear will be replaced with the more accurate Cervical Screening Test

• the time between tests will change from two to five years

• the age at which screening starts will increase from 18 years to 25 years

• women aged 70 to 74 years will be invited to have an exit test

Until the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is implemented, women aged between 18 and 69 years who have ever been sexually active should continue to have a Pap test when due.

  • You can find the new guidelines here