North-east MSPs have called for an end to stigma over the human papillomavirus.
Aberdeen Central SNP MSP Kevin Stewart and north-east regional Labour counterpart Lewis Macdonald are backing a campaign by the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to tackle myths around the disease.
Scotland’s cervical screening programme will test for HPV first from this year, a more sensitive and more accurate test. The charity, which has launched its Smear for Smear campaign, says around 500 cases of cervical cancer could be prevented as a result.
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Mr Stewart said: “I’m sure everyone can get behind this important campaign to raise awareness around HPV to tackle the stigma and myths associated with the virus.”
Mr Macdonald added: “It is important to end stigma around HPV infection and to ensure women attending smear tests feel informed and comfortable when they get their results.
“Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and the #SmearForSmear campaign are a positive way to encourage more women to attend these vital tests.”
Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “HPV can be confusing but is nothing to be ashamed of. We need to get rid of the stigma around this virus.”