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HPV Gets Star Treatment: Michael Douglas

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

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.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.