March 4, International Human Papillomavirus Awareness Day

Worldwide, more than half a million cancers are caused by HPV. HPV is the cause of all cervical cancers and also some cancers of the vulva, penis, vagina, anus and oropharynx.

OneLessWorry HPV

HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection: almost all of us will be infected by this virus at some point in our lives. However, most infections resolve on their own, and only a small proportion of them persist and can lead to cancer.

Fortunately, this infection can be prevented through vaccination, which has shown excellent effectiveness. In Catalonia, since 2008 this vaccine has been included in the systematic vaccination schedule and today it is aimed at boys and girls in the 6th grade of primary education (11-12 years of age), in addition to other risk groups.

Notably, among HPV-related cancers, 8 out of 10 are cervical cancers. Specifically for the prevention of this cancer, we also have early detection or screening for women between 25 and 65 years old. Early detection consists of performing a test to detect HPV infection or lesions related to this infection in the cervix so that they can be treated appropriately before cancer develops.

Since 2018, the International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS) has proposed March 4 to increase global awareness and education about HPV and the prevention of HPV-related cancers. In the IDIBELL Infections and Cancer research group and in the Cancer Epidemiology Research Program of the Catalan Institute of Oncology we have been committed to research on this virus, including its relationship with cervical, oropharyngeal and anal càncers, the implementation of the Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program in Catalonia as well as the global monitoring of vaccination and screening coverage through close collaboration with the IARC and the WHO.

Today we join the #onelessworry campaign to continue working to eradicate HPV and eliminate HPV-related cancers.



  1. de Martel C, Georges D, Bray F, Ferlay J, Clifford GM. Global burden of cancer attributable to infections in 2018: a worldwide incidence analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2020 Feb;8(2):e180-e190. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30488-7. Epub 2019 Dec 17. PMID: 31862245.
  2. Manual de vacunacions de Catalunya. Versió dinàmica. Vacuna anti-virus del papil·loma humà (vacuna VPH) [Internet]. Disponible a:
  3. Protocol de detecció precoç del càncer de coll uterí a Catalunya. Barcelona: Direcció General de Planificació i Recursos en Salut; 2023. [Internet]. Disponible a:


The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC). 

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