This week marks Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2020. To kick things off, we asked Dan Joyce, Corporate Relationships Manager at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, to share some advice on how people can get involved this week and onwards in the fight against cervical cancer.

Join us for #SmearForSmear 2020 during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (20-26 January). Over the last few years we’ve asked you to smear your lipstick, this year we’re doing something different…

Smear tests can prevent cervical cancer and we want as many people as possible to understand what the test is for, but we also want them to feel informed and comfortable when they get their results. That means knowing what HPV is.

This year we want to smear the stigma and myths that exist around smear tests and HPV. 80% of us will have HPV in our lives, and for something so common there shouldn’t be so much shame, fear and confusion around it.

How can I get involved?

Embarrassing, rare, dirty, scary. These are just some of the words people can associate with HPV. We want to smear the stigma and get the facts out.

During the campaign (20 – 26 January) share a lipstick smear, use one of our graphics below, or smear your own myths. Smear your makeup, paint, whatever you have – it’s up to you! Just don’t forget to use #SmearForSmear and tag us – @JoTrust on Twitter and @JosCervicalCancerTrust on Instagram. You might want to share your own experience or a tip to help someone feeling nervous about their smear test.

The facts about HPV:

  • At some point in our lives, 4 out of 5 (80%) of us will get at least one type of HPV. 
  • In most cases the immune system will get rid of it. Around 90% of HPV infections clear within 2 years.
  • HPV infections do not usually have any symptoms, so you may not even know you had it.
  • HPV lives on our skin, so it is easy to get and difficult to completely protect against.
  • You are at risk of getting HPV from your first sexual contact, whatever that is – it doesn’t have to be penetrative sex.
  • We can have HPV for a long time without knowing about it, so it is hard to know when we got HPV or who we got it from.
  • Cervical screening (a smear test) can find a high-risk HPV virus and changes early, before it develops into cancer.
  • For more information, visit: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/information/hpv

For more on how you can support Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, visit their profile here.

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