Preventing HPV infection and HPV-related diseases

Australia was the first country to implement a fully funded national population based human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program aiming to prevent HPV infection and HPV-related diseases.

Date published:

The HPV Surveillance Working Group (a working group of the Communicable Diseases Network Australia) has prepared a national plan to support HPV surveillance and monitoring in Australia. This plan incorporates selected indicators and data sources from existing national programs in the context of an HPV vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). 

The program aims to prevent infection with HPV types that can cause: 

  • cervical cancer
  • anal cancer
  • other anogenital cancers
  • a subset of head and neck cancers
  • genital warts. 

In consultation with the HPV Surveillance Working Group, the Department of Health and Aged Care will monitor and review the plan. They will make sure it stays up-to-date and aligns with relevant national policy and strategies.

The NIP introduced the HPV vaccination in 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, all females aged 12 to 26 years were offered vaccination against HPV through schools and a community-based program.

In 2013, the program was extended to include males. As of February 2023, the routine 2-dose HPV vaccine schedule provided to young people aged 12 to 13 years became a single dose schedule using the Gardasil®9 vaccine.

Australia has aligned its goal of eliminating cervical cancer as a public health problem with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2030 goals of:

  • 90% of women getting vaccinated for HPV
  • 70% of women screened for cervical cancer by age 35 and again by age 45 with a high precision assay
  • 90% of people requiring treatment receive it.

By 2035, Australia aims to achieve the following targets beyond the WHO goals:

  • extending the 90% HPV vaccination target to include males as well as females
  • extending the 70% screening target to 5-yearly participation for eligible people aged 25 to 74, rather than twice in a lifetime
  • lifting the target for treatment of cervical precancer and cancer to 95% receive optimal care, as a commitment to achieving elimination as equitably as possible, leaving no-one behind.