Australia: Concern at Fall in Pap Test Numbers
February 27, 2009
In Victoria, a reported drop in women presenting for regular Pap tests "is definitely a concern" for health experts, said Kate Broun, manager of PapScreen Victoria. New figures show that in the fourth quarter of 2008, the number of women in Victoria taking the test was 14 percent lower than in the last quarter of 2007, and 12 percent below the same period in 2006. Broun said the numbers may be off due to misconceptions about the vaccine against human papillomavirus, the STD that causes most cervical cancer cases. Some authorities have expressed fear that young women receiving the shots might mistakenly believe they no longer needed regular Pap tests. The figures, however, suggest testing is down across all age groups. "It could be reasons related to access, the cost of screening, the lack of bulk billing, a whole host of reasons," Broun said. "It could be as simple as the fact that PapScreen did not run any TV campaigns last year. This is something women could so easily forget to do without that reminder."
The Age (Melbourne)
02.26.2009; Nick Miller
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.