Medical News Today
Article Date: 10 Mar 2011 – 0:00 PST
Cancer Council Australia suggests an alarming lack of knowledge may be to blame for the fact that many girls aged 12-13 are not having the cervical cancer vaccine, despite it being available free of charge through schools under the Australian Government’s National HPV Vaccination Program.
In response, Cancer Council Australia this week launched a new website which aims to increase participation in the vaccination program, at a time when many girls aged 12-13 are returning to school and being offered the potentially life-saving vaccine.
In a recent Australian study1 almost 3000 students in Year 10 and Year 12 were interviewed, of whom only 33% had heard of HPV. Over half the girls interviewed (54%) didn’t know that HPV is transmitted through sexual contact, while 62% weren’t aware that HPV causes cervical cancer.
“Given these low levels of knowledge were identified in Year 10 and 12 students who have had access to the free National HPV Vaccination Program, we would expect knowledge to be lower again in girls aged 12-13 who are currently deciding whether to have the vaccine,” said Cancer Council spokesperson Kate Broun.
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