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Cervical Cancer and Stigma | What can you do about it?

By Joy Duer and Alexandria Da Ponte

Cervical Cancer Fast Facts, Source: United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

As with many illnesses worldwide, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, misconceptions of a disease can lead to shame and stigmatization. The Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies (GWHT) and the WISH Revolution are working to reduce shame and stigma regarding women’s sexual and reproductive health, specifically cervical cancer.

As we have seen with COVID-19, the majority of illnesses do not affect one population, but manifest themselves in populations across the world. Our Center is committed to reducing the stigma and shame associated with HPV and cervical cancer, specifically in low-income and low-resource populations in Peru, Kenya, Honduras, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania, India and the United States.

During this extraordinary time of social-distancing, GWHT encourages our followers to join our movement to reduce the shame and stigma around cervical cancer. This can be done in a few practical ways:

Find ways to educate yourself about Cervical Cancer.

Virtually visit our partner

organizations who are working with us to provide cervical cancer screenings worldwide:

When the pandemic ends, book a doctor’s appointment for a Pap smear or to get the HPV vaccine. Do you know if you have received the two recommended doses of the vaccine? A regular pap smear helps detect cervical cancer earlier. In addition, HPV vaccinations are not just for women, men need them as well!

If you are sexually active, use protection to help prevent the potential spread of sexually transmitted diseases. (HPV is sexually transmitted!) Remember that using protection does not guarantee prevention of an HPV infection.

Listen to “The Measure of Everyday Life,” a weekly public radio program featuring researchers, practitioners, and professionals discussing their work to improve the human condition. On this episode, Dr. Brian Southwell and GWHT Research Associate Elizabeth (Libby) Dotson discuss how our work brings together medicine, engineering, and the arts for an innovative campaign to encourage more public consideration of women’s health. Reach out to us with your questions about cervical cancer and HPV! We love engaging with our followers as we work together to provide education and reduce stigma. Send us a message on Twitter @DukeGWHT


WORDS FROM OUR DIRECTOR: “Focus on meeting people, particularly those who are really different from you, whether it be a different discipline or culture. I believe you learn the most from people who think differently than you. It makes us question our assumptions and grow as individuals.”

We encourage you to reach out to your virtual communities, learn more about cervical cancer and to join us in the revolution to end cervical cancer!



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