Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith is supporting a campaign which aims to raise awareness of cervical cancer and end the stigma around the common virus HPV (Human papillomavirus)

This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (January 20-26) Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is aiming to tackle the myths, misconceptions and stigma around HPV.

Across the UK, cervical screening is moving to testing for HPV1 first. It is a far more sensitive test but also means many more women will be told they have HPV.

In most cases, HPV infection goes away without doing the body any harm. Sometimes it causes cells to change which, if not treated, could develop into cervical cancer.

New research conducted by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found a third of women consider HPV a taboo topic and would not want anyone to know if they had it. A quarter haven’t heard of HPV and one in five would feel embarrassed if they were told they had the virus. Calls to the charity’s Helpline about HPV have already risen 50% over the past year.

This is expected to rise as more women are tested for HPV.

Nick Smith MP and the UK’s cervical cancer charity want as many people as possible to understand the importance of cervical screening and to feel informed and comfortable when they get their results.

Mr Smith said: “I am very happy to support the important work being done by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and help get the message out to my constituents in Blaenau Gwent.

“It is so important to encourage as many women as possible to attend their screening tests by dispelling the myths around HPV and raising awareness of this very common virus.”

Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust: “HPV can be confusing but it is nothing to be ashamed of. 80% of us will get at least one type of HPV in our lives and in most cases the immune system will get rid of the infection without it causing any harm.
“We need to get the facts out about HPV and get rid of harmful myths and stigma around this really common virus.”

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