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HPV vaccination GP program has started in SA and NT

05 July, 2007

General practitioners in South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory will begin administering free Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine to women aged 18 to 26 years from 1 July, with the other states to follow shortly thereafter.

The Commonwealth Government is providing $537 million for the national HPV vaccination program. The commencement of the 18–26 year old program follows the successful introduction of the school-based HPV program for girls aged 12 to 18 years. Girls who have left school before they turn 18 years can get their vaccine free from a GP.

The HPV vaccine will be available from general practitioners and other immunisation providers for free. Practitioners who do not bulk bill may charge a consultation fee.

Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia will start the program on 16 July and the Australian Capital Territory on 30 July.

Girls and women are being immunised using Gardasil®, which was based on technology developed in Australia by a team led by former Australian of the Year, Professor Ian Frazer.

Gardasil®, which is delivered as a course of three injections over six months, prevents infection from four HPV types, two of which cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers. Vaccinated women will still need to have regular Pap smears to ensure that any cervical abnormalities are detected early.

Australia has the second-lowest incidence of cervical cancer and the lowest mortality rate from cervical cancer in the world, due to the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program.