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The incidence of genital warts in Australian women prior to the national vaccination program

Julia M. L. Brotherton A C , Anita Heywood A and Stella Heley B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia.

B Victorian Cytology Service and Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: jbrother@vcs.org.au

Sexual Health 6(3) 178-184 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH08079
Submitted: 26 October 2008  Accepted: 26 May 2009   Published: 3 August 2009

Abstract

The quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine currently being delivered to Australian women aged 12–26 years under the National HPV Vaccination Program promises to substantially reduce the incidence of genital warts. We review what is known about the burden of genital warts among Australian women. Incidence appears to peak among women aged 20–24 years, of whom 1.4% report genital warts in the previous year and who are hospitalised for treatment at a rate of 26 per 100 000. A surveillance system capable of documenting any decrease in the incidence of genital warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis after vaccination is urgently required.

Additional keywords: burden of disease, hospitalisations, human papillomavirus, juvenile onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, prevalence, surveillance.


Acknowledgements

We thank the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation HPV Working Party – this manuscript is based on literature reviews and information prepared for, and by, the Working Party. We also thank the investigators of the Australian Study of Health and Relationships and the Australian Social Science Data Archive for provision of data on genital warts in Australia; they bear no responsibility for the further analysis and interpretation of these data as presented in the current paper. Thank you to Dr Zhanhai Gao, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, The University of New South Wales, and Mr Honglin Jiang, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), for assisting with the analysis of the ASHR data. Data were analysed using Matlab version 7.5.0. We would like to thank Dr Lewis Marshall, Dr Russell Waddell and Mr Alan Brotherton for permission to cite personal communications. We thank the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for provision of data from the National Hospital Morbidity Database. NCIRS is supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, the NSW Department of Health and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.


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