Health Equity, HPV and the Cervical Cancer Vaccine

Joanna Erdman


This article explores the relationship between technological innovation and health inequity. It examines in particular the relationship between the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, the cause of cervical cancer, and inequity in cervical cancer incidence and mortality. In Canada, screening programs have drastically reduced the incidence of cervical cancer, but their benefits have been unequally distributed. Prevention efforts have disproportionately failed women of disadvantaged social groups. Technological innovation alone will not remedy this inequity. The HPV vaccine merely expands the available means for reducing or increasing health inequity depending on its implementation. For this reason, the article looks beyond technological innovation to focus on both the positive and negative health equity effects of the Canadian HPV vaccination strategy.


Health Law; Gender and Sexuality

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