International HPV Awareness Day – Lifting the lid on the world’s most viral secret



Mar 02, 2019, 09:01 ET

GENEVAMarch 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — On International HPV Awareness Day, March 4th a global partnership of over 60 organizations, led by the International Papillomavirus Society will be lifting the lid on the human papillomavirus (HPV) – a virus associated with 1 in 20 cancer cases in the world. The campaign will use social media and community events o invite people to uncover the world’s ‘most viral secret’.

HPV is the world’s most prevalent sexually transmitted infection and is associated with life-threatening cancers including cancers of the cervix, anus, penis, vagina, vulva, mouth and throat. It is estimated that 80% of people will contract the HPV virus at some point in their lives, nevertheless many people know little about how to prevent HPV, or reduce their risk of developing HPV-related cancer.

‘IPVS believes that the foundation of effective action to reduce the burden of HPV-related cancer, is the empowerment of people to make informed choices and to understand the importance of vaccination and screening. Increasing awareness of the HPV virus and the steps that people can take to reduce risk is critical.  By understanding the virus and by talking openly, we can remove the misunderstandings and stigma that often act as a barrier to appropriate healthcare and put people at real risk.’ said IPVS President Prof Margaret Stanley.

Recent commitments to eliminate cervical cancer by the World Health Organization (WHO) have spurred action by governments around the world. IPVS has issued its own policy statement calling on governments to adhere to the standards set out by WHO in relation to access to prevention and screening.

Around 90% of cervical cancer cases are HPV-related and every 2 seconds a woman dies of cervical cancer. ‘Quite understandably, policy and public attention has focused on cervical cancer’ said IPVS Advocacy Chair Joel Palefsky. ‘But HPV shouldn’t just be the concern of women. The virus is carried by men as well as women, and males are also at risk of HPV-related cancers. Everyone is potentially affected by HPV  – and everyone can do something to reduce the risks simply by sharing information and lifting the lid on HPV,’ he concluded.

IPVS’s ‘most viral secret’ campaign on March 4th will draw comparisons between the ubiquity and public awareness of useless viral internet content, compared to awareness of a very real virus. Patient information resources and signposting to national and regional sources of information and support can be access from the campaign website

For more information please contact [email protected] For details of national and regional campaign participants visit


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