HPV types in the community

Research status


Overview of Study

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a common virus that infects the cervix (the neck of the womb) in most women at some time during their lives. About 40 different types of this virus can infect the genital tract. The body usually gets rid of HPV infection without causing any harm, but infection with some types of HPV can continue in the cervix and cause damage to cells. Some types of HPV infection can continue for many years, causing damage that may eventually develop into cancer of the cervix.

In 2007, the Australian government introduced a new vaccine to protect against some HPV types that cause pre-cancerous cervical disease and cancer. However, it will take a long time to see a reduction in cervical cancer and pre-cancerous changes from the vaccine. One way to check if the vaccine is working already to reduce cervical cancer is to look for the types of HPV present in Pap tests just a few years after the vaccine was introduced. This is to see if the types of virus protected against by the vaccine are becoming less common, which is what we should see if this vaccine is working well.

This study will measure how common certain types of HPV infection are in young women around Australia.

Objectives of study

Has the cervical cancer vaccine made a difference to the types of HPV in women? (HPV stands for 'human papilloma virus', sometimes known as the 'wart virus', and is the virus that can cause cervical cancer).

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