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 

Five myths about the new cervical screening program that refuse to die

The Conversation, March 10, 2017 6.23am AEDT

The online petition against changes to Australia’s cervical cancer screening program has revealed more than 70,000 people (most of whom we could assume are women) are deeply concerned about what the upcoming changes mean.

Let’s have a look at some common misconceptions and concerns about changes to the cervical cancer screening program.

Read more here 

The end of the Pap smear is good news for women

  • by Dr Deborah Bateson, Medical Director, Family Planning NSW
  • Published in Sydney Morning Herald, February 28 2017

The government announced on Monday the end date for the Pap smear. On December 1, it will be superseded by a new test for the human papilloma virus (HPV).

An online campaign aimed at persuading Malcolm Turnbull to stop this change has gained traction, but while the campaign may be well-intentioned, it is also misinformed. There are many reasons, based on science as well as equity, why the new program should be supported.

Read more here 

Position statement on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination

VAC, 2015/2017

Community members have recently been expressing interest in human papillomavirus vaccines (HPV) in online discussions. Health bodies in both the UK and Ireland have recommended that all gay and bisexual men receive the vaccine in order to reduce their risk of certain cancers.

VAC developed a position statement on this issue back in July 2015 in association with Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, which states that VAC believes the vaccines should be made available free of charge to all gay, bisexual and other MSM under the age of 26, and to all people living with HIV.

Download the position statement (PDF) at this link: PositionStatement_HPVvaccination_JULY2015

Alarm sounds as thousands of WA teenagers skip HPV vaccine

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The State Government has sounded the alarm at thousands of WA teenagers missing out on cancer protection because they are not completing their full course of the human papilloma virus vaccine.

The HPV vaccine was considered a medical breakthrough when introduced 10 years ago for its protection against cancers including of the throat and cervix, and genital infections.

Read more here