Joint Steps urged against Cervical Cancer Virus

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Developed countries have been urged to take more responsibility in helping women in less developed countries get proper vaccinations against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer and many other diseases.

During the first Symposium on HPV Vaccination in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East Regions'' held in Seoul Korea on Monday, policy makers and health and vaccine experts from 36 countries agreed that more HPV vaccines should be supplied to women in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region, where 270,000 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 140,000 die of it.

Dr. Xavier Bosch, Chief of International Affairs at the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, said that the vaccine could make a dramatic change in the area.

He said the HPV vaccine is not only effective in preventing cervical cancer, but also warts on the vulva, vagina, and in the anal and oral cavity. However, the sad irony is that the women who are most affected by the virus, are the ones who cannot afford it .

Bosch said, ``Women in more developed countries pay high prices for the newest vaccine to benefit from its effects first and make up for the pharmaceutical companies' investment. But on the other hand, that lets less developed countries' people benefit from the drug at lower prices.''

Experts at the seminar called for steps to make the vaccine available to more people around the world. The World Health Organization has suggested that the United Nations permit regional branches to purchase the vaccine and distribute it.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization is also seeking ways to provide the drug to Vietnam, Uganda and other countries.

Bosch said with the vaccine, women and some men