Monitoring the Effectiveness of the Australian Cervical Cancer Vaccination Program in Reducing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection and Related Disease


StudyRecruitment for this project has now closed.

About the project

In Australia, cervical cancer kills almost 200 women annually. Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which can be prevented by the newly available cervical cancer vaccines if given before HPV infection occurs. The purpose of this project was to determine the effectiveness of the Australian cervical cancer vaccination program by examining if a) there has been a reduction in HPV infection in young women following the introduction of HPV (cervical cancer) vaccine; and b) if there has been a decrease in the detection of abnormal cells of the cervix due to HPV infection in young women. The project also aimed to find out what women understand about the cervical cancer vaccine and the disease it prevents, and about their sexual and reproductive health experiences.

What were the results of this project?

The project began in 2011 with Register4 being asked to help recruit in 2015. The researchers are currently analysing the latest data, and it is expected there will be several scientific publications arising from this work. The group has already reported an early finding in an article published in the journal Vaccine in 2015. They found 'a very low prevalence of vaccine-related HPV genotypes amongst vaccine-eligible women from Victoria, Australia'. These are very promising results, and we will keep you informed of further research published by the group about the VACCINE project.

The researcher: Professor Suzanne Garland

Professor Garland obtained her Bachelor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne in 1971, and subsequently worked as a Research Fellow at Harvard University, Boston, USA. She commenced as Director of Clinical Microbiology at the Women’s in 1984.Professor Garland is a regular advisor to the World Health Organisation on sexual and reproductive health infections, cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV). Her laboratory is a Western Pacific WHO reference laboratory for HPV for the HPV Labnet.She is currently the Clinical Director of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the Women’s, Director of Microbiology Research at the Women’s, and Senior Consultant in Microbiology at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

Who was the project for?

This project was looking for women aged 18-25, residing in Victoria, who had not received the HPV (cervical cancer) vaccine.
What did this project involve? Participants were asked to complete an online questionnaire covering basic details (such as age, height, weight, area of residence) and questions about their sexual and reproductive health as well as their knowledge of, and attitudes to; cervical cancer, HPV, HPV vaccine, Pap smears and other related topics. Participants were asked to provide consent for the researcher to obtain their HPV vaccination history from the National Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Program Register (NHVPR) to confirm their vaccination status. Sexually active participants were asked to provide two self-collected samples so the researchers can test for the presence of HPV. Participants received a $10 Coles/Myer gift card upon completion of all project requirements as an acknowledgement of their contribution.

Where was the project conducted?

The project was conducted through the Royal Women’s Hospital, Parkville, Victoria. The questionnaire component of the project was conducted online and the self-collected samples were done in the privacy of the participant’s homes.

What publications were achieved as a result of this project?