Greyfriars Bobby says HPV vaccination and screening save lives

Today is International HPV Awareness Day, a global campaign coordinated from here in Edinburgh in collaboration with 140 international partners to prevent half a million global cancer deaths a year. Initiated by the International Papillomavirus Society in 2018, the campaign aims to improve public understanding of HPV (the human papillomavirus), and the actions people can take to reduce the risk of HPV-related cancer.
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While almost everyone will have HPV at some point in their lives, the One Less Worry campaign aims to reduce health anxiety by encouraging people to empower themselves with information and highlighting the potential of HPV vaccination and screening to prevent six types of HPV related cancers. Almost all cervical and anal cancer diagnoses are linked to HPV infection as well as over 70 per cent of throat, 60 per cent of penile and 40 per cent of vulvar cancers (source NHS). Recently published research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has shown no cases of invasive cervical cancer found in women who were immunized at 12 or 13 years of age in Scotland.

Around the city iconic landmarks were pressed into service to raise public awareness, Greyfriars Bobby donned a ‘One Less Worry’ collar, Brown’s Close one of the most photographed locations in the city and cycle paths en-route to Chalmers Sexual Health Clinic were chalked up with a One Less Worry message, signposting people to reliable information about the virus, prevention and screening at

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Edinburgh International Conference Centre which, will play host to over 1000 HPV research and clinical experts from around the world later this year was lit purple to commemorate the day. Parents and students at Castlebrae Community High School in Niddrie participated in an information event to highlight the importance of HPV vaccination for cancer prevention.