HPV, HIV and Cervical Cancer: Leveraging Synergies to Save Women's Lives
July 22, 2016
On 20 July, at the 21st International AIDS Conference, being held in Durban, South Africa, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS launched a joint report, entitled HPV, HIV and cervical cancer: leveraging synergies to save women's lives, as part of the work of the United Nations Interagency Joint Task Force on Noncommunicable Diseases. The report was launched during an informal panel discussion with representatives of UNAIDS, WHO and the International Community of Women Living with HIV, East and Southern Africa, moderated by Ebony Johnson of the Athena Network.
The burden that HIV places on women, particularly adolescent girls and young women from low- and middle-income countries, is compounded by the global burden of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer. Every year more than 260 000 women die from cervical cancer -- approximately 85% of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. Women living with HIV have a four to five times higher risk of developing cervical cancer, an AIDS-defining illness that is the second most common cancer among women living in low- and middle-income countries.
HPV is a major contributor to global morbidity and mortality each year, causing diseases that range from benign lesions to invasive cancers. Growing evidence indicates that HPV may also be an important cofactor in HIV acquisition.
Given the association between HPV, cervical cancer and HIV, synergies must be leveraged, and a focused and integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health, and saving women's lives, must be taken.
The launch of the report engaged advocates, activists, researchers, service providers, the United Nations and development partners in a lively and informal dialogue. Princess Tessy of Luxembourg, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Prince Africa Zulu of Onkweni attended the event.
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This article was provided by UNAIDS. It is a part of the publication The 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016). Visit UNAIDS' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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