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The presence of cervical cancer in South Africa is alarmingly high. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major cause of cervical cancer, but is benignly present in many women as they become sexually active. The majority of women will clear their HPV infection, but if there is a microlesion, or vulnerability in the junctural zone of the cervix, the virus penetrates the basal cells of the epithelium and results in cervical cancer.
With the HPV vaccination of young girls before they become sexually active, being rolled out at Primary schools throughout the country, clinicians should have a clear understanding of the virus and how it works.
This video dramatically visualises the HPV and its attack on the cervical epithelium.
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