Will vaccinated women attend cervical screening? A population based survey of human papillomavirus vaccination and cervical screening among young women in Victoria, Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: To assess human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination coverage and attitudes to vaccination and Pap screening in young women. DESIGN: Population-based telephone survey. SETTING: Victoria, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: 234 women resident in Victoria aged 18-28 years in May 2009. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-reported HPV vaccination uptake, reasons for non-receipt or failure to complete vaccination, knowledge and attitudes about HPV vaccination and Pap screening, and cervical screening intentions. RESULTS: The response rate for eligible households was 62.4%. Half of the women (56%, n=131) had previously had a Pap test and 74% (age standardised estimate) had received HPV vaccine. Of the vaccinated women, 5% had received one dose only, 18% two doses and 76% had completed the course (1.7% unsure of number of doses). Vaccination uptake was highest in the youngest women (declining from 90% for at least one dose in women aged 18-38.5% in women aged 28; p for trend <0.001). Among women who had heard of the vaccine, 96% knew Pap tests were still needed after it, although 20% thought the vaccine could prevent all cervical cancers and 9% thought the vaccine could treat cervical abnormalities and cancer. Among vaccinated women, 8% of women agreed that having been vaccinated made them less likely to have Pap tests in the future. CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported coverage in this sample was higher than that recorded on the national vaccination register. Young women report the message that Pap tests are required after vaccination, but there are gaps in their knowledge about the limitations of the vaccine so it remains to be seen if they actually follow through with having Pap tests. Ongoing monitoring of cervical screening rates will be important as this cohort ages.

publication date

  • June 2012