HPV FBTwitter asset

Oracle supports World Sexual Health Day 4th September 2021 by raising awareness of the risks of the HPV virus and head and neck cancer

  • 31% of people report having never heard of HPV
  • 41% of people report having a poor understanding of HPV
  • One in five (19%) know it causes throat cancer
  • In contrast, more than half of the people surveyed (57%) knew that HPV was a risk factor in cervical cancer development

Three in ten (31%) adults have never heard of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and 41% have a poor understanding of it, as found by a recent online survey conducted by YouGov.

Awareness of who HPV affects and what diseases it can cause was also shockingly low, with about a quarter of people (23%) saying that they don’t know who HPV affects and only one in five (19%) aware that it can cause anal and throat cancers.

Unfortunately, sometimes HPV doesn’t get cleared from the body and can lead to genital warts, head and neck, cervical, vaginal, vulval, anal or penile cancer.

All children aged 12-13 are currently offered a vaccine to protect against four key strains of HPV, including two ‘high-risk’ cancer causing strains, HPV 16 and 18.

People with a cervix are also eligible for cervical screening on the NHS aged 25 – 60. When they receive their results, they will be told whether or not they have HPV in a letter and a HPV positive result raises a lot of anxiety and questions.

There are many myths surrounding HPV – for example that a condom offers full protection against it. There is also stigma and shame that surrounds the virus being a sexually transmitted infection which can prevent people taking measures to protect their health.

Today (4th September) for World Sexual Health Day, gynaecological charity The Eve Appeal has launched a thorough and inclusive guide to HPV for everyone aged 16+ to dispel the myths and stigma, raise awareness of the virus, explain ways to prevent it, and bust some of the many myths and stigmas surrounding this commonly occurring virus. Oracle Cancer Trust supported this booklet with content for the risks associated with head and neck cancer and we are grateful to former patient supporter and HPV campaigner Steve Bergman for sharing his story.

You can read a copy of the guide here.