Dr Anna Giuliano is the latest interviewee in our Pieces of the Continent series
Q. Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background.
I am the founding director of the Center for Immunization and Infection Research at the Moffitt Cancer Center. I am a cancer epidemiologist with a focus on HPV-related cancers. Specifically my research centers around the study of HPV natural history in males and females and vaccine prevention of multiple cancer sin males and females caused by HPV.
Q. What do you think the general public need to know most about HPV and the cancers it causes?
HPV is a common, equal opportunity virus that infects the majority of individuals worldwide. HPV causes 6 cancers in men and women (anal, cervical, penile, oropharyngeal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers). All together these 6 cancers account for 1/20 cancers diagnosed worldwide. The good news is that we can prevent the majority of the HPV infections that cause these cancers with the HPV vaccine. In addition to vaccination we have the tools to screen for cervical pre-cancerous lesions which if appropriately treated, reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. As we have multiple tools to prevent cervical cancer globally the WHO has embarked on an ambitious goal of eliminating cervical cancer worldwide.
Q. How do you think we can better spread information regarding HPV and the HPV vaccine?
Social media, new outlets, medical providers and friends/family are all important sources of information to help get the word out that the HPV vaccine is a cancer prevention vaccine.
Q. How might gender neutral vaccination affect the HPV infection rate of high risk groups?
Gender neutral vaccination programs accelerate elimination of HPV viruses form the community. This means that at the population level we can more rapidly eliminate the diseases HPV causes, if we successfully vaccinate the majority of males and females in any given community.
Q. Do you have any final thoughts, anything you would like to mention that hasn’t been already covered?
The HPV vaccine prevents multiple cancers. Spread the word!