Promoting cervical screening after introduction of the human papillomavirus vaccine: the effect of repeated mass media campaigns Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: In 2007, Australia implemented an ongoing, school-based human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme for school-aged girls, and a catch-up programme for 18-26-year-old women that ran until the end of 2009. The availability of what is widely known as the 'cervical cancer vaccine' means there is the potential for women to believe, incorrectly, that they no longer require regular cervical screening, and this risk needs to be addressed. The current study aimed to assess the effect of three mass media campaigns to promote cervical screening on the rate of cervical screening tests in the Australian state of Victoria, after HPV vaccine became available. METHODS: Seasonal time series assessed the effect of media campaigns broadcast in 2007, 2009 and 2010 on the rate of weekly cervical screening tests in Victorian women from 2006 to 2010, stratified by time since last screening test. RESULTS: The 2007 and 2009 media campaigns significantly increased the number of cervical screening tests per week. The 2007 campaign had a significant impact on lapsed screeners (>36 months since last test), overdue screeners (28-36 months since last test), and women never previously screened. The 2009 campaign significantly increased screening tests for overdue screeners, and the 2010 media campaign was associated with a significant increase in screening tests for lapsed screeners. CONCLUSIONS: A well-researched and carefully pretested television advertising campaign with accurate, actionable messages can elicit appropriate screening behaviour among some of the appropriate groups even in a changed environment of complex, and potentially competing, messages.

publication date

  • 2013