Egypt is currently facing a crisis in terms of women’s health due to a lack of adequate healthcare and knowledge concerning the risks associated with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Despite the fact that HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women, Egyptian women are often unaware of the existence of the virus, and even if they are aware, the issue is largely considered taboo, so women feel unable to talk about it and seek treatment.
Although the government has acknowledged the problem and is attempting to address it, the cultural barriers remain a major roadblock and require attention from all stakeholders. Women’s organizations have played an important role in attempting to spread awareness and reduce the taboos surrounding HPV. For instance, the Egyptian Women’s Economic Development Foundation developed a campaign to raise awareness about HPV and promote early detection and treatment, and has since worked to educate women at the grassroots level.
Additionally, medical professionals have taken part in the education of both patients and physicians on the risks and signs of HPV. For example, the Egyptian Association of Medical Specialists educated doctors on the importance of checking women for HPV and offering diagnosis and treatment.
Ultimately, in order to effectively reduce taboos and stigma, education and information about HPV at both the medical and non-medical levels must be provided in order to ensure that proper screening and diagnosis of cervical cancer is taking place. This will help to create a culture shift in which both individuals and the larger society are aware of the issues surrounding HPV and can talk about it openly.