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HPV stigma must end

May 21, 2020
Shaun Williams

To mark Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (20-26 January), Lime Insurance is supporting Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to tackle the myths and stigma around the common virus HPV and get the facts out.

To mark Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (20-26 January), Lime Insurance is supporting Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to tackle the myths and stigma around the common virus HPV and get the facts out.

New research[1] 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. It is expecting this to significantly rise as more women are tested for HPV and is calling on health professionals to be prepared for increases in questions from patients and encouraging open conversation.

HPV is a group of viruses that affect the mouth, throat or genital areas. They're easy to catch, and for most people do not cause serious health issues. However, in a small number of cases they can cause cancer.Testing for HPV is a far more accurate test estimated to prevent almost 500 diagnoses of cervical cancer every year[2]. There are no symptoms, and most people will get some form of the virus in their life.

Across the UK, cervical screening is moving to testing for HPV[3] first, it is a far more sensitive test but also means many more women will be told they have HPV. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is running its #SmearForSmear campaign to tackle the misconceptions about the virus.

Lime 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.

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.”
Shaun Williams, CEO, Lime Insurance: “We are proud to be working with Jo’s to help spread the message that HPV isn’t a taboo subject. Getting tested can mean that any issues are picked up quickly and can be dealt with, stopping the chance of cervical cancer. Lime is working with the #SmearForSmear campaign to promote the message, to give people the information they need to look after their health, and to get the financial protection in case of need. It’s time to start a conversation and break the myths.

Lime offer affordable bite-sized insurance to support people going through cancer. Plans costs as little as £2.03 a month*. They provide £5,000 cash on diagnosis, and up to £100,000 for NHS-approved medications.



[1] Survey of 2,034 Women aged 18 and over. Collected between 9.12.19-12.12.19 by Censuswide on behalf of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust




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