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HPV Gets Star Treatment: Michael Douglas


Magic Johnson did it for HIV. Katie Couric did it for colon cancer. And Angelina Jolie did it for double mastectomy.

As public health officials well know, there is no substitute for a celebrity to get out your message on prevention. There hasn't really been a face for prevention of cervical cancer through vaccination for the human papilloma virus, or HPV.

Now comes superstar Michael Douglas and his statement over the weekend that his throat cancer may have come from oral sex, a route of transmission for HPV.  While there is no certainty, it raised the profile of a common virus that is wreaking havoc.

Irene Maher of the Tampa Bay Times uses Douglas' attention-getting remarks as a jumping-off point for a Q-and-A with Dr. Anna Giuliano, director of the Center for Infection Research in Cancer at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.After serving two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, Gentry worked for a number of newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times), the Tampa Tribune and Orlando Sentinel. She was a Kaiser Foundation Media Fellow in 1994-95 and earned an Master's in Public Administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1996. She directed a journalism fellowship program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for four years.Gentry created Health News Florida, an independent non-profit health journalism publication, in 2006, and served as editor until September, 2014, when she became a special correspondent. She and Health News Florida joined WUSF in 2012.
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