Australia set to become first country to eradicate cervical cancer

Australia set to become first country to eradicate cervical cancer

Thanks to the Australian federal government's mandatory initiatives and advanced screening tests, cervical cancer is set to be obliterated from the continent for good.

According to the International Papillomavirus Society, Australia may soon hit the pedestal with #1 rank as it is geared to become the first country to eliminate cervical cancer completely. 

Australia's victory against cervical cancer 

According to a new research published on HPV awareness day i.e March 4, Australia’s groundbreaking free HPV vaccine program in schools has led to the rapid fall in the cervical cancer rates.

For the uninitiated, the sexually transmitted HPV infection is the cause of most cervical cancer cases.

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Taking Australia's case into consideration, the Kevin Rudd federal government had begun offering the vaccine to girls between the age group of 12-13 since 2007, which was made available to boys from the year 2013. Even girls and boys outside the age bracket but under nineteen were given two free doses of the vaccine.

Astonishingly, between 2005 and 2015, the percentage of Australian women infected with HPV dropped from 22.7 to a striking 1.1 percent, with a marked increase in immunization rates since 2015.

Coupled with advanced screening test made available to the public by December 2017, lead researcher of the study professor Suzanne Garland from Royal Women's Hospital, is hopeful that there will be no new cases of cervical cancer within the coming 40 years. 

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How does the rest of the world fare?

According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, the HPV vaccine costs a massive $450 for the full regimen in America. Not so surprisingly, as per data published by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, compared to 78.6 percent of 15-year-old Australian girls, and 72.9 percent of 15-year-old Australian boys, only 50 percent of American girls between 13 and 17, and 38 percent of American boys between 13 and 17 were vaccinated. 

But the worse circumstances exist for people from the developing world, where the HPV infection presence is largely concentrated among women who have no access to screening tests or the vaccines.

“Two-thirds of the world’s population of women don’t get access to what Australian women do,” said Joe Tooma, the chief executive of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation told Futurism.

“Unless we do something, it will still be one of the major cancer killers in developing countries,” he added grimly. 

But America and the rest of the world can take inspiration from not just Australia but Bhutan too that implemented free HPV vaccination programs in school that has helped in lowering cervical cancer cases.

As Professor Ian Frazer, from the University of Queensland (who is also the co-creator of the vaccine), told Guardian, the prospect of free availability of the vaccine is mootable, but something tha governments across the world must consider. 

“It will be a challenge to get rid of cervical cancer globally. But the tools are there to do it. We’ve done the program in Vanuatu and Bhutan, and that shows it doesn’t matter what country, if you provide the vaccine for free, people will take it up,” he stated.

Is Trump listening?


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