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Living with HIV but Dying from Cervical Cancer: The Fight Against a Silent Killer

July 25, 2012 3 minute Read by Eric G. Bing

This guest blog was written by Melody McCoy, Vice President of External Relations and Communications at Jhpiego As President Bush so eloquently stated during his recent trip to Africa to launch Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Botswana, “All life is precious. We cannot save a woman from dying of HIV/AIDS and leave her to die of cervical cancer, which is preventable.”  Like President Bush, Jhpiego believes that all women, regardless of economic status or geographic location, should have access to accurate, affordable cervical cancer screenings. Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for women in developing countries. Each year, 270,000 women die needlessly from a disease that is 100% preventable. Approximately 80% of these deaths occur in developing countries, where less than 1% of women have been screened for the disease. To provide some context on the inequality in access to effective and affordable screenings and treatment, the survival rate for cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa is 20%, compared to 80% in the U.S. Even more astonishing is that because of our advances in treatment for HIV/AIDS, women in sub-Saharan Africa – the epicenter of the pandemic –women are living with HIV, but  dying from cervical cancer because of the lack of screenings. To shine an even brighter spotlight on this silent killer, Jhpiego has created a moving video that highlights the lack of access to  cervical cancer screenings and treatment in the developing world by introducing you to the women whose lives have been impacted.  The video was the focus of a Jhpiego led satellite event during AIDS 2012 that featured Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s Executive Director, Dr. Doyin Oluwole. To watch the video click here.This blog post was written by Melody McCoy, Vice President of External Relations and Communications at Jhpiego, a non-profit global health affiliate of Johns Hopkins University that for almost 40 years has been working to prevent the needless death of women and their families.