Background: Prevention of cervical cancer in Britain has included cervical screening since 1988. In 2008, a vaccination programme for human papillomavirus (HPV), school-based in 12-13 year olds with a catch-up programme in 14-17 year olds, was introduced. Population-based data linking sexual and demographic risk factors with biological high-risk (HR-)HPV prevalence, cervical screening attendance and HPV vaccination uptake are needed to inform cervical cancer prevention strategies.
Methods: The third British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes & Lifestyles (Natsal-3), a probability sample survey of men and women aged 16-74, resident in Britain was undertaken in 2010-12 and interviewed 8869 women. Urine samples collected from 2569 women aged 16-44 years who reported at least one lifetime sexual partner were tested for HPV. In multi-variable analyses we explored risk factors for HR-HPV, non-attendance for cervical screening and non-completion of the 3-dose HPV vaccination course.
Results: HR-HPV was detected in 15.9% of women and was associated with risky sexual behaviour, younger age, relationship status, lower social class and smoking. Not having attended for cervical screening in the last 5 years was reported by 8.1% of women aged 26-49 and this was similar in those with and without HR-HPV detected. Not attending for cervical screening in the past 5 years was associated with fewer partners, young age, housing status, Asian ethnicity and smoking. 61.5% of women eligible for the HPV catch-up programme completed the vaccination course. Non-completion was associated with increasing age at eligibility, lower education, non-white ethnicity, smoking, ever being pregnant and having 2 or more partners without a condom in the past year.
Conclusions: Socio-economic markers and smoking were associated with HR-HPV positivity, non-completion of vaccination and non-attendance at screening. Special efforts are needed to ensure those who missed vaccination are captured by the cervical screening programme to avoid widening of cervical cancer disparities in these catch-up cohorts.