Australia could become the first country to eradicate cervical cancer
Australia could become the first country in the world to eradicate cervical cancer.
The country's free HPV vaccine has caused a considerable decline in future cervical cancer rates, according to new research conducted by the International Papillomavirus Society.
The Guardian reports that the study suggested that future cases could drop to "just a few" due to the numbers of children receiving the HPV vaccine in Australian schools.
The programme was introduced for schoolgirls between the ages of 12 and 13 in 2007, with the vaccine being introduced to boys in 2013.
Over the course of 10 years, HPV rates in women in Australia aged between 18 and 24 dropped from 22.7 percent in 2005 to 1.1 percent in 2015.
The HPV virus is the cause of 99.9 percent of cervical cancers in women, but can also cause penile, anal and oropharyngeal cancers in men.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said last week that there were plans to introduce the vaccine for boys in Ireland from next year.
He said that the government want to extend the programme to boys in 2019 due to the "considerable health benefits" associated with the vaccine.
Both girls and boys in countries including Austria, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US are already offered HPV vaccines by the state.