Epidemiology of human papillomavirus infection and cervical cancer and future perspectives in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan

Vaccine. 2008 Aug 19;26 Suppl 12:M60-70. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.05.042.


Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are three island states that are newly emerged affluent economic areas in Asia. The majority of the populations are ethnically Chinese with a total population of 6.98, 4.5 and 23 million, respectively. Cervical cancer has been declining over the last thirty years in all three states and is largely attributable to widespread opportunistic cervical cancer screening. The age-standardized incidence rates of cervical cancer are 9.6 per 100,000 women in Hong Kong in 2004, 10.6 per 100,000 women in Singapore in 2002 and 18.6 per 100,000 women in Taiwan in 2003. High prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) was observed in all three states. In cervical cancer, HPV 16 and 18 are the two most prevalent HPV types, but HPV 58 and 52 are also highly prevalent in these three states. Important epidemiological risk factors for invasive cervical cancer include smoking and age at sexual debut for women, although this is changing towards an earlier age. Of the three states, Taiwan was the first to have a comprehensive national screening programme in 1995 followed by Hong Kong in 2002 and Singapore in 2004. Women in these three states are well aware of cervical cancer and the preventative means by Pap smear screening, although their awareness and understanding of the role of HPV in cervical carcinogenesis is low. Prophylactic HPV vaccines have been licensed in the three states. Routine comprehensive public vaccination programme for adolescent girls has yet to be adopted by the governmental agency, despite an affirmative recommendation by medical professional bodies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alphapapillomavirus / classification
  • Alphapapillomavirus / isolation & purification
  • Carcinoma in Situ / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs / standards
  • National Health Programs / trends
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Smoking
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Vaccination
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines