International Conference Focuses On HPV’s Impact On Women

Scientists, clinicians and public health leaders from around the world are gathered in Montreal this week for the 26th International Papillomavirus Conference where they hope to generate awareness about human papillomavirus (HPV), Canwest News Service/Gazette reports (Martin/McCallum, 7/4).

In an opening keynote speech to the conference on Sunday, former U. N. special envoy Stephen Lewis spoke of the toll HPV takes on the health of women worldwide, Canwest News Service/Gazette reports in a separate article. “Lewis, an outspoken activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, said limited access to treatment in poor countries means that the human papillomavirus is a problem of pandemic proportions” (Martin/McCallum, 7/5).

CTV News reports that “HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the world, and usually results in benign warts. However, 15 percent of infections lead to cervical cancer.” Hundreds of experts attending the conference “say their goal is to make vaccines for the human papillomavirus — or HPV — more accessible to girls and women from poorer nations.”

“The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), a public- private consortium, is hoping to help out by negotiating and securing affordable prices for a vaccine that the world’s poorest nations can’t afford,” the news service writes. “At this moment we are failing to get these methods to those people that need it the most,” Marc Steben of the Quebec Public Health Institute said (7/5).

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