Press Release



State Health Department Helps Reduce Risk of Cervical Cancer Through HPV Webinar

 70 percent of cervical cancers caused by HPV

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.In recognition of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, the Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Women’s Health and STD Program are sponsoring a webinar called, “The Many Issues of Human Papillomavirus and Its Prevention.” The focus of the webinar is to provide additional education to physicians, nurses and public health personnel about cervical cancer and human papillomarvirus (HPV), to help ensure they are able to provide people with the best information and care possible.

The webinar will provide information on the risk factors for HPV infection, HPV transmission, vaccination as a primary prevention for HPV infection, and the importance of cervical cancer screenings.

“Two types of HPV cause approximately 70 percent of cervical cancers. The more education we can provide to physicians and health care workers about HPV risk factors, transmission, vaccination and screenings, the better able we are to reduce the risk of cervical cancer and other cancers caused by HPV,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold.

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas, mouth and throat of both women and men. Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems. In fact, in 90 percent of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years. However, certain types of HPV can cause genital warts in men and women. Other HPV types can cause cancer, including cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and head and neck (tongue, tonsils and throat), as well as cervical cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two vaccines that are highly effective in preventing infection with the two HPV types that cause most cervical cancers, with one vaccine also providing protection against most genital warts. Both vaccines are recommended for 11 and 12 year-old girls and can also be given to females 13 through 26 years old who did not get any or all of the three recommended doses when they were younger. These vaccines can also be given to girls as young as nine years old. The vaccines are most effective when given before sexual activity begins. The vaccines may not fully protect everyone and does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it is important to continue regular cervical cancer screenings.

Through routine screening and follow-up, cervical cancer is highly preventable and early detection through screening can significantly increase chances of survival. In 2011, a projected 590 women in Illinois will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and a projected 180 women in Illinois will lose their lives to cervical cancer.

The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) provides free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams, and Pap tests to uninsured women throughout the state. In the past fiscal year alone, IBCCP has provided nearly 18,000 cervical cancer screenings to uninsured women. For more information on IBCCP, visit

“The Many Issues of Human Papillomavirus and Its Prevention” webinar will be held Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011 from 11 a.m. until noon. Dr. Lea Widdice, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Cincinnati HIV/STD Prevention Training Center will be the featured speaker for the webinar.

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
Questions or Comments