Author: Federation for Medical Women of Canada | Date: 01 October 2018
Today marks the first day of HPV Prevention Week. Launched in 2017 through the stewardship of The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) and collaboration partners including the SOGC, Public Health Agency of Canada, Merck Canada, Canadian Pharmacists Association and multiple regional partners, the campaign has garnered worldwide attention with numerous countries joining the education battle of HPV understanding, screening and treatment.
The second annual week continues to raise awareness and endorse educational activities aimed at promoting HPV immunization as the first step in the fight against HPV infection and six types of cancer.
"Cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers in females and males can now be prevented! We know that PAP tests are excellent for early detection in girls and women, but I am excited about the goal of prevention, not just early detection, by immunizing girls and boys," remarks Dr. Vivien Brown, Board Member of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada and a family doctor.
Although the World Health Organization recommends both boys and girls be vaccinated, only Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States offer the vaccination to both boys and girls. This year's education campaign will focus the discussion on male immunization and the continued importance of screening and immunization beyond the age of 25.
The FMWC wants people to know that HPV-related cancers are preventable with immunization and has created a page where you can find links to resources and websites with other educational materials regarding HPV, what it is and how to fight it.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Canada and around the world.
It is estimated that as many as 75% of sexually active men and women will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives, regardless of lifestyle, but most people with healthy immune systems will eventually clear the infection from their bodies.
HPV can cause genital warts and six different types of cancer — Oropharyngeal, Penile, Anal, Vaginal, Cervical and Vulvar — but it is preventable.
The HPV vaccine is very effective for school-aged children and people of all ages. Those with previous exposure to HPV or a history of HPV-related diseases still benefit from HPV immunization.
Cervical cancer, and the five other cancers linked to HPV, can be prevented with HPV immunization. The best time to receive the vaccination is before sexual activity begins, which is why school-aged children are targeted. And although HPV vaccinations began with girls, HPV is not a female-only virus. Recent data shows that more than 3,500 Canadians – a third of them males – are diagnosed annually. That's why boys are now getting the vaccination.
"We are pleased to be marking HPV Awareness week. We are raising awareness because it is the first step to protect Canadian men and women from a preventable cancer," says Dr. Jennifer Blake, Chief Executive Officer of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. "The World Health Organization has set its sights on the elimination of cervical cancer. We can do this in Canada by three simple steps-prevention- vaccination, early detection- screening, and early treatment. But it all begins with awareness, and the sharing of reliable information."
HPV Prevention week (#HPVPW18) is October 1-7, 2018 with a mission to educate Canadians about HPV prevention. Join the conversation and share what you learn using #CANADAvsHPV.
As part of the 2018 education week, Canadians are asked to raise awareness about prevention and take shots against HPV in the most Canadian way possible – with a hockey stick and puck.
Participating in the challenge is simple and only requires a few steps:
Set up a hockey net (real or makeshift!), grab a stick and a puck
Grab a friend who can snap a photo or a video of you
Take your shot against HPV by shooting the puck into the net
Post your photo or video on social media using #CANADAvsHPV and tag 3 friends to challenge them to do it next!