The free National HPV Vaccination Program was introduced in 2007 because extensive trials proved that vaccinating young women with the HPV vaccine was likely to significantly reduce cervical cancer diagnoses and deaths from the disease, as well as a significant number of Pap test abnormalities. The vaccine also protects girls from some cancers of the vagina, vulva and anus.
The decision to introduce the program in Australia was made by the Australian Government after extensive consultation with scientists, epidemiologists and public health experts.
From 2013, boys were included in the free school-based program.
Although cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer caused by HPV, persistent infection is also known to cause penile and anal cancers in men.
Providing equitable and free access to the HPV vaccine will help protect more Australians from HPV-related illnesses, including cancer.