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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

2020 Smear for Smear

This week launches the 2020 Smear for Smear campaign. 

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.

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