What to Know About HPV and Cervical Cancer

Summary Points

  • The importance of knowing about cervical cancer
  • The symptoms
  • Who is at more risk of developing cervical cancer?
  • Screenings

Approximately 4,300 women will die from cervical cancer1. Cervical cancer is cancer of a women’s reproductive system that directly involves the cervix that connects the vaginal canal and uterus1. All women are at risk for developing cervical cancer. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex1. At least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives1.

There are other things that can increase your risk of cervical cancer2:

  • Women over the age of 30
  • Smoking
  • Having HIV or being immunocompromised
  • Having multiple sexual partners or initiating sex at a young age
  • Being on birth control pills for 5 years or more
  • Poor diet
  • Exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (a drug given in the 1950s to prevent miscarriages)

Screening tests and the HPV vaccine can help prevent cervical cancer. If cervical cancer is detected early, it is treatable. Screenings through regular Pap Smears starting at age 21 or at the time sexual activity begins. There are many ways to prevent cervical cancer. Talk to your provider about the HPV vaccine, the vaccine prevents approximately 90% of cervical cancers2. You can also abstain from sexual activity and/or use protection whenever you have sexual intercourse (male condom, female condoms, and dental dams). It is recommended that you do not smoke 1.

The early stages of cervical cancer have no signs or symptoms. The later stages include abnormal bleeding, vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, or pain during sex. Treatment plans can include surgery to remove cancer, radiation, or chemotherapy, or any combination of these three options.

The Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority would like to encourage you to engage, educate, and empower in order to that make the best decisions regarding your health. While we cannot have control over every aspect of our health, we encourage you to take the steps toward a happier and healthier you. Due to COVID-19, this make look different so choose something small like going for a walk, choosing a healthier snack option, etc. Remember that it is important to be kind to yourself. We hope that you stay healthy!

For more information on cervical cancer, feel free to visit our website and/or download our cervical cancer fact sheet here. Our community partners listed below, please feel free to reach out to them to schedule your Pap Smear.

Good Samaritan Health Center

Urban Health and Wellness

Center for Black Women’s Wellness

Empowerment Resource Center



Ashley Yates
Program Associate




  1. Centers for Disease Control (2019). Cervical Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/
  2. American Cancer Society (2021). Cervical Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer.html

Asset Management

The Lease Transfer Agreement clearly states The FDHA’s responsibility for ensuring that all facilities currently operated by Grady are properly maintained and operated. This mandate goes beyond functioning as a landlord, but rather speaks to an expected standard of care for all. The FDHA and Grady must work collaboratively to ensure that all Grady facilities go beyond the minimum standard of “fit for use” so that the quality of Grady facilities is consistent with that of any other high-functioning hospitals.

Innovative Strategies and Initiatives

The most recent pandemic brought gaping healthcare disparities to light. As Georgia’s larg- est safety net hospital (and only safety net hospital in Metro Atlanta due to the closure of Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center), Grady continues to see increased service demands. Often, the medically indigent and underserved use the emergency room for primary care services. Issues like housing insecurity and poverty place additional strain on the Grady Health System, particularly when other factors (outside of the hospital walls) inform one’s overall wellbeing. As Grady continues to seek ways to improve health outcomes in the community, The FDHA is tasked with identifying innovative ways to support Grady’s efforts and broaden its reach into targeted sectors of the community. This pillar also speaks to The FDHA’s efforts to work collaboratively through grantmaking with organizations whose mission, vision, and work align with The FDHA’s priorities and goals. Through structured strategic partnerships, focused and aligned grant making, and ongoing community engagement, The FDHA will assume a leadership role in the health ecosystem.

Stakeholder Engagement

There are many stakeholders within the Fulton/DeKalb health ecosystem. Stakeholders can be characterizedas individuals, groups, or organizations whose efforts either inform healthcare outcomes or are impacted by healthcare outcomes. Grady remains The FDHA’s most important partner in this effort and a key stakeholder in the health ecosystem. As the daily operators of all of Grady’s health facilities, hundreds of thousands of patients per year (more than 700,000) are impacted. Maintaining consistent communication and collaboration with Grady’s Executive Leadership Team and staff is central to the success of The FDHA.


Similarly, The FDHA’s alignment and support of Grady’s population health and community engagement efforts are invaluable. As a grantor, The FDHA has an extensive network of community-based partners that work daily to provide direct services and/or support various health priorities. Many of these organizations provide services directly related to social determinants of health (i.e., housing, education, transportation, etc.) thereby adding value to the continuum of care. As The FDHA seeks to embrace a more prominent role as a convener, organizer, and facilitator in the health ecosystem, engaging stakeholders with purpose and intentionality becomes increasingly important.

Organizational Capacity & Accountability

The FDHA’s obligations, relative to its role as owners of the facilities operated by Grady and stewards of county resources entrusted to Grady, require the requisite skills of staff to execute key administrative and regulatory functions. Establishing and maintaining a staffing model that adequately responds to the needs of the agency is vital. Of equal importance is the establishment and maintenance of high-functioning financial management systems and general operations controls. Critical front and back-office functions should be insulated from staff turnover or shifts in organizational priorities. The provision of ongoing staff development opportunities will ensure that team members stay abreast of industry standards, best practices, and leading-edge opportunities. In addition, the curation and maintenance of financial management best practices ensure organizational accountability and responsiveness.

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