Introduction A national school-based HPV vaccination program for 12–13 year olds was introduced in Australia in 2007 for females, and 2013 for males, with about 70% coverage achieved for 3-doses. However lower coverage has been reported in some states. In the context of an Aboriginal Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (2010–2014), we examined health care attendance among Aboriginal adolescents and young Aboriginal people attending Aboriginal Medical Services (AMSs) to determine clinical opportunities to offer HPV vaccination and HPV vaccination uptake.
Methods We extracted de-identified clinical data from 15–24 year old Aboriginal clients attending six AMSs between mid-2013 and mid-2014, and calculated total individuals attending, the median number of medical consultations per person and HPV vaccinations recorded. We used ranksum tests to compare medians.
Results Over 12 months, 1814 15–19 year old Aboriginal people attended (715 males, 1099 females), with similar proportions aged 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 years in males and females. Among 15–19 year olds, there was a median of 4 consultations per person, higher in females (5, IQR: 2–11) than males (3, IQR: 1–5), p < 0.001. A similar number of 20–24 year olds attended (n = 1785), with a median of 5 consultations, higher in females (6, IQR: 3–13) than males (3, IQR: 1–6), p < 0.001. HPV vaccination was documented in the records of only three people, all 15 years old females (<2% all 15–19 yos).
Conclusion Despite concerns that many teenagers have poor health seeking behaviour, at six participating AMSs, we found that 15–19 year olds attend at a similar rate to 20–24 year olds, with females in both age groups attending more frequently. However, very few HPV vaccination doses were reported as given. Considering HPV vaccination is provided free at AMSs in NSW, these data highlight the need for better systems to support AMSs to identify incompletely vaccinated Aboriginal adolescents in addition to clinic-based prompts, reminders and feedback reports to raise clinician awareness.
Disclosure of interest statement The Aboriginal Sexual and Reproductive Health Program was funded by the New South Wales Ministry of Health.
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