Women are being put off smear tests by 'shame' over HPV virus

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Chloe Delevingne had a smear test live on the Victoria Derbyshire

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Chloe Delevingne had a smear test live on the Victoria Derbyshire

Since 2008, girls aged 11-13 have been offered a vaccination in school against the two most common "high-risk" types of HPV, called HPV16 and HPV18, which are thought to cause seven in 10 instances of cervical cancer.

The warnings come after the charity surveyed more than 2,000 women on HPV, a common infection spread through skin-to-skin contact usually during penetrative or oral sex.

"Attending smear tests is just as important if you have been vaccinated or not as it will detect abnormalities caused by other types of HPV".

They said the infection, which affects eight out of ten women at some point in their lives, must be "normalised" to encourage more women to attend life-saving screening.

Almost half said they would be anxious about telling their partners.

Half would wonder who had given it to them and a similar number would worry it meant that their partner had been unfaithful. "It's actually really common, so common in fact that four in every five people (80%) will have the virus at some point in their lives".

Being told you have HPV is nothing to be ashamed of.

Reassuringly, the NHS say that most HPV infections are cleared by your immune system within two years. "However, HPV can live on the skin in and around the whole genital area, which will not be covered by a condom, so it can be transmitted through sexual contact of any kind including any touching or genital to genital contact, as well as oral, vaginal and anal sex". At the time, she had never heard of HPV.

"But you can have HPV for years and not know it".

"It is a really easy thing to get, so you shouldn't be embarrassed". While most instances of HPV are symptomless, some people experience genital warts.

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When HPV screening is introduced, samples will first be tested for the presence of HPV.

But some strains or types of HPV (there are lots of different ones) can cause genital warts.

Which Cancers Are Linked To HPV?

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"Every woman has the choice whether to go for screening but busting the myths and removing the stigmas surrounding HPV is vital to ensure people feel more confident to book and turn up for their cervical screening appointment". The first dose of the HPV vaccine will be offered routinely to boys aged 12 and 13 in year 8, in the same way that it is now offered to girls.

The Breast and Cervical Screening Program can assist women in getting a Pap smear and HPV test if they meet the following criteria: 1) Are between the age of 21 - 64 years old; 2) Are uninsured or underinsured (has insurance but does not cover full cost associated with services), and 3) have resided in the CNMI for at least one year. At the same time, women with negative test results will not need to be screened as often as they are now'.

All women over the age of 25, who are registered with a GP, are invited for cervical screening, also known as a "smear" test. HPV can stay undetected in the body for years.

I've had the vaccine so I cant get it - No.

Simon Harris was yesterday blamed for the "disastrous knock-on effects" of the cervical cancer scandal that have indefinitely delayed a new screening programme.

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, who will be talking about the survey findings at Cancer Research UK's Early Diagnosis conference, said: "We must address the level of misunderstanding that exists around HPV".

Although the NHS explain that "most people will get an HPV infection at some point in their lives, and their bodies will get rid of it naturally without treatment", it can be risky for those who become infected with a high risk type of HPV and are not able to clear it.

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