This October 3 – 8, during the fifth annual HPV Prevention Week, we are empowering Canadians to learn how they can help protect themselves and their loved ones against HPV and HPV-related cancers and diseases.

By declaring the world’s first HPV Prevention Week in 2017, Canada has become a leader in HPV prevention. There are many ways you can get involved and help us build momentum – join the conversation online, participate in a virtual event or start a conversation with your friends and family about the role we can all play in HPV prevention. Talk to your health care provider about how to help protect yourself from HPV.

What it is

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer, but it can also lead to anal cancer, vaginal, and vulvar cancers, penile cancers and mouth and throat cancers i – however it may be prevented. It is estimated that as many as 75% of sexually active men and women will contract HPV at some point in their lives, but most people with healthy immune systems will eventually clear the infection from their bodies.ii

 

 

 

Get Involved

The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) have organized virtual events to help raise HPV awareness. Check out these activities to learn more about HPV!

On Thursday, October 14th, SOGC will host a Facebook Live event aimed at families looking for information about in-school vaccination programs and catch-up efforts. The live discussion will be hosted by SOGC CEO Dr. Jennifer Blake and Toronto Gynecologist Dr. Kim Alexander. Joining them is Dr. Nancy Durand, a gynecologist at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Science Centre. For more information, visit SOGC’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sogc.org/.    

On Thursday, October 7th, FMWC will host a live Facebook discussion, including a live Q&A, on the importance of HPV Prevention. The discussion will include the following experts, patients, and advocates:

  • Dr. Vivien Brown, Chair of HPV Prevention Week
  • Liz Ellwood, Cervical Cancer Survivor
  • Dr. Sari Kives, Deputy Chief of Gynecology at St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Dr. Chloé Rozon, OBGYN Resident at The Ottawa Hospital

For details or to register, visit https://bit.ly/fmwc_facebook_live

These events are organized by FMWC and SOGC to help raise HPV awareness. 

All Canadians can play a role in HPV prevention. Education is a critical step.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ways you can take action today to help protect yourself against HPV and HPV-related cancers:

  • If you’re sexually active, use latex condoms every time you have sex; but remember that HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom – so condoms may not fully protect against HPV.iv
  • If you currently smoke, quit smoking – smoking makes the body less able to fight off HPV infection.v 
  • Schedule regular cervical screenings, per your doctor’s recommendation. Pap tests do not prevent HPV, but they can help your doctor catch abnormal cells before they develop into cervical cancer.v
  • Learn about STIs, including their signs, symptoms, consequences, and methods of transmission.
  • Learn about safer sex methods and use them consistently.
  • Make informed decisions about your sexual health. Talk to your partner(s) about their STI status and the use of protection. Remember that the previous sexual behaviours of your partner(s) are also a risk for you, especially if they have had multiple partners.vi
  • Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about getting immunized – vaccines are available in Canada to help prevent infections from various types of HPV.vi
  • Anyone who has had sex is at risk for HPV. Because not all infections have noticeable symptoms – or any symptoms at all – men and women can be infected with and transmit HPV without knowing it.vii That’s why you should talk to your doctor about these steps, and others that you can take to help protect yourself. Together you can develop a personal action plan that’s right for you.

Twitter Join the conversation on Twitter

Don’t wait to help prevent certain HPV infections! Speak with a healthcare professional about HPV prevention, including vaccination. #CANADAvsHPV https://www.canadavshpv.ca/ 

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Organizations committed to HPV Prevention

HPV Prevention Week is a collaborative effort of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC).

FMWC is a national organization committed to the professional, social and personal advancement of women physicians and to the promotion of the well-being of women both in the medical profession and in society at large. For more than 100 years, FMWC has been connecting women in the medical profession with each other, medical students and the community.

Dr. Jennifer Blake

Dr. Vivien Brown MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP

Dr. Vivien Brown is a family physician, award winning author, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Department of Family & Community and Vice President of Medisys Health Group, a business dedicated to preventative health. An award winner for teaching on many levels, her major interests are in the area of health promotion and prevention for women, and continuing medical education.

She has lectured locally, nationally and internationally on preventative medicine and implementation issues around vaccination. Among many of Dr. Brown’s leadership activities include having served as President of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada and currently, serving as Chair and co-founder of HPV Prevention Week in Canada, the first country in the world to have created such a week of education. In 2019, Dr. Brown began  her term as Vice President for North America for the Medical Women’s International Association.

SOGC is one of Canada’s oldest national specialty organizations. Established in 1944, the Society’s mission is to promote excellence in the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology and to advance the health of women through leadership, advocacy, collaboration and education.

SOGC provides ongoing training and educational resources for health care professionals, educators and the general public. These initiatives include hands-on training courses for health care professionals who perform colonoscopies and the development of Sex and HPV: It’s time to talk, an information booklet for teaching sex education in the classroom. 

Dr. Jennifer Blake Chief Executive Officer – SOGC

Dr. Jennifer Blake is Chief Executive Officer of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). She has held several clinical, academic and leadership roles, including Chief of obstetrics and gynaecology and Head of women’s health at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Chief of pediatric gynaecology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Undergraduate Dean of McMaster University’s medical school.

She has also served as professor and associate chair at the University of Toronto, as well as head of pediatric gynaecology for the school. 

i Canadian Cancer Society, 2018. What do I need to know about HPV? Available online: https://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/reduce-cancer-risk/make-informed-decisions/get-vaccinated/what-do-i-need-to-know-about-hpv/?region=on (accessed September 2021).

ii Government of Canada. 2017. Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Available online: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/human-papillomavirus-hpv.html (accessed September 2021)

iii Canadian Cancer Society, 2016. Media backgrounder #1: HPV-associated cancers. Available online: http://www.cancer.ca/en/about-us/for-media/media-releases/national/2016/cancer-statistics-backgrounder-1/?region=on (accessed September 2020)

iv Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017. Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm (accessed September 2021)

v The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, 2018. HPV. Available online: http://hpvinfo.ca/prevention/ (accessed September 2021)

vi Government of Canada, 2017. Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Available online: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/human-papillomavirus-hpv.html (accessed September 2021)

vii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016. HPV and Men – Fact Sheet. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-and-men.htm (accessed September 2021)