It has been well documented that the National HPV Vaccination Program has led to substantial reductions in the prevalence of vaccine targeted HPV genotypes, and in specific disease outcomes linked to HPV in the general female population. In the first report of the impact among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (hereafter referred to as Aboriginal), the results demonstrated a comparable decrease in genital warts-related hospital admissions among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women. Furthermore, the first study of the impact on genotype prevalence in Aboriginal women has recently concluded, with results due in mid-2016. So far, no study has assessed genotype prevalence among Aboriginal men.
The program aims to establish a national network of sentinel sites to monitor trends in HPV infection prevalence among 18 to 35 year old men and women. The objectives of the study are to establish a national clinical network for the collection of specimens for HPV testing, including from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men and other priority populations; collect minimum data on socio-demographics and HPV risk factors; link HPV genotype prevalence data to the National HPV Vaccination Register; and provide real-time evaluation of the impact of the National HPV Vaccination Program.
The sentinel surveillance strategy involves prospective collection of specimens for HPV genotyping at geographically diverse sites on an ongoing basis. Using repeatable recruitment, sampling, and detection methodologies, to monitor HPV prevalence will allow for the detection of changes in circulating HPV types over time.
To evaluate the coverage and impact of the National HPV Vaccination Program in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and/or collaborating health services nationally will participate in the study. HPV prevalence surveys will be conducted biennially e.g. over a 6-12 week period, at each of the participating health centres targeting recruitment of 25 women and 10 men from each participating ACCHS, per recruitment round.
The research team is dedicated to building the capacity of participating sites. A HPV education update targeted at health workers and clinical staff will be provided along with additional support being offered to sites to train workers and those services that are looking to develop HPV health promotion activities and/or resources. To facilitate enhancement of research capacity, staff in services will have the opportunity to engage in training and professional development during induction visits and throughout the study, in the area of HPV testing and care, with Aboriginal Health Workers particularly encouraged to participate. More broadly, the research will enhance the services’ awareness of epidemiological research and the direct impact this can have on health outcomes.
IMPACT aims to achieve timely evaluation of the National HPV Vaccination Program by (i) establishing a national sentinel surveillance system to enable the collection of specimens for HPV testing from priority populations and (ii) monitoring trends in HPV infection prevalence with linkage of data to the National HPV Vaccination Register.
- The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne via the Department of Health
Collaborative agreements have been developed between:
- Alfred Health (Melbourne Sexual Health Centre) – Victoria
- Clinic 275 at Royal Adelaide Hospital
- Department of Child Health
- Department of Health
- Family Planning NSW
- Family Planning Victoria
- The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress – Northern Teritory
- The Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales – New South Wales
- The Royal Women’s Hospital – Victoria
- The University of Melbourne – Victoria
- Sexual and Reproductive Health WA
- Sexual Health Services Perth WA
- South Terrace Clinic – Western Australia
- University of Sydney – New South Wales
- and individual community health services appropriate governing bodies.