South Africa: HIV and Cervical Cancer - Behind South Africa's Dramatically High Numbers

analysis

A recent study published in The Lancet found that women living with HIV made up an astonishing 63.4% of new cervical cancer cases in South Africa in 2018. Spotlight spoke to local experts about the links between HIV and cervical cancer in South Africa, and how cervical cancer is prevented, tested for and treated in the public sector.

A recent study published in The Lancet medical journal found that women living with HIV made up an estimated 63.4% of new cervical cancer cases in South Africa in 2018 - a dramatically higher percentage than the global level of around 6%. The study also found that women living with HIV on average have a sixfold higher risk of developing cervical cancer than women who are not living with HIV.

"In absolute terms," the authors wrote, "most women with cervical cancer living with HIV were from South Africa."

Of the estimated 33,000 new cases of cervical cancer in women living with HIV in 2018, around 8,200 were in South Africa. In total, including women who are not living with HIV, it is estimated there were around 570,000 new cervical cancer cases worldwide in 2018.

A cancer caused by a virus

"Cervical cancer...

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