Medical expert warns thousands could die from HPV programming interrupted by Covid-19


NEWS PROVIDED BY International Papillomavirus Society 

LONDON, March 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — On HPV Awareness Day, the International Papillomavirus Society is urging women to attend delayed cervical screenings and for all interrupted services to re-start as thousands continue to miss out on vital HPV care, with deadly consequences. The IPVS is also calling for global vaccine equity.

One woman dies from cervical cancer every 2 minutes but HPV is a virus that can be beaten, if services are rolled out and taken up. In higher income countries, cervical screenings have reduced from 70% to 30-40% and 32% of women are unlikely to attend appointments due to Covid-19 fears.

IPVS calls for everyone to ‘Ask About HPV’ – speak to local politicians, healthcare practitioners and seek information at www.askabouthpv.org.

86% of cervical cancers occur in developing countries where the story is even more serious. In sub-Saharan Africa, with the highest rate of cervical cancer in the world, cervical screening is available to less than 5% of eligible women.

Professor Margaret Stanley, President of IPVS, says “It’s unfathomable that there is such inequality in the roll-out of crucial, inexpensive medical care. Young women are missing vital appointments now which could be fatal. More than 350,000 people die annually from HPV-related illnesses. Early prevention and treatment is key– the world needs to step up.”

IPVS is hosting a high -level panel featuring WHO’S Dr Princess Notembe Simelela amongst other distinguished speakers at 3pm GMT on 4th March to define how we can accelerate progress against HPV in the era of Covid-19, which the public and media are welcome to attend.

Approximately 20% of men have HPV DNA detected in their genital area, and cases are increasing every year, leading to deaths from anal, penile and throat cancers. Screening and treatment to prevent these cancers is not widely available.

Dr Joel Palefsky, HPV Awareness Campaign Chair and expert on HPV-related cancer in men, said, “Quite rightly the focus has been on cervical cancer, the leading cause of death in women from HPV-related cancer. However, anal and throat cancers are becoming increasingly common, and men with HIV or immune suppression are particularly high risk. We need to dispel the stigma.”

Sources: Professor Gordon Wishart, Chief Medical Officer,Check4Cancer Check4cancer.comEliminating cervical cancer in the COVID-19 era | Nature Cancer Delayed Cancer Screenings—A Second Look (ehrn.org)

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