Screening for the prevention of cervical cancer in the era of human papillomavirus vaccination

an Australian perspective

Annabelle Farnsworth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

28 Citations (Scopus)


Australia has a unique and highly successful screening program for cervical cancer which is based on the conventional Pap smear. Since its introduction in 1991 there has been a decline in both the incidence of and mortality from this disease. Part of the success of this program has been the introduction of Pap test registers and strict quality assurance measures for cervical cytology, including compulsory key performance indicators for laboratories. Using these measures, nationwide calculations give cervical cytology in Australia a sensitivity of 78% for high-grade lesions and a positive predictive value (PPV) of 78%. Australia was the first country to introduce a widespread government-funded human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program in 2007. Because of the high accuracy of Australian cytology, HPV testing alone, given its low PPV and high cost, is unlikely to be a viable alternative to cytology for primary screening in this country. Australia therefore faces unique issues and choices in integrating its extensive vaccination program with a successful cervical screening program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical screening
  • Human papillomavirus vaccination
  • Pap smears
  • Pap test registers
  • Positive predictive value
  • Sensitivity

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