HPV prevention is vital to end cervical cancer

HPV day

Next Friday March 4th is the International HPV Awareness Day. This campaign was started by the International Papillomavirus Society in 2018 and its purpose is to motivate people all over the world to question and learn about HPV, and take action on HPV prevention to help end cervical cancer.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a health issue that affects us all, either directly or indirectly.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the name of a group of viruses, which affect the skin. Human papillomavirus infection is common and many sexually active men and women are infected. Most HPV infections are not worrying because the immune system usually controls them. But sometimes our body cannot control the infection and this can lead to cell changes that, if left untreated, might lead to cervical cancer.

Evidence shows that nearly all cervical cancers (more than 99%) are caused by the human papillomavirus. For this reason it is very important to stop the spread of HPV to end cervical cancer as a public health problem. Especially in low and middle income countries with little access to cervical cancer screening and where nearly nine out of ten cervical cancer deaths occur.

To eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem we need:

HPV vaccination is the first line of defense against cervical cancer. A study published in the Lancet showed that HPV vaccination is cutting cases of cervical cancer by nearly 90%. According to the World Health Organization global strategy to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem, we need to vaccinate at least 90% of girls before the age of 15 to eliminate cervical cancer in the 21st century.

In the meantime PRESCRIP-TEC is focusing its research on increasing adoption of cervical cancer screening in women with HPV infection in low and middle income countries. This is secondary prevention. According to the World Health Organization 70% of women should be screened with a high-performance test by 35 years of age, and again by age 45, to detect cervical lesions in time for them to be treated before it is too late.

Educating ourselves and others about HPV and its relation to cancer is the first step to reducing the risk. 

Learn everything about HPV and how to get involved in HPV prevention at www.askabouthpv.org

Together we can end cervical cancer