New publication benchmarks European government policies regarding access to HPV prevention policies in 2023

22 June 2023

The 2nd edition of the HPV Prevention Policy Atlas was launched at the Romanian Parliament on 22 June 2023. The Atlas reveals a very uneven picture across the European region.

The best-performing countries include Denmark, Sweden, Finland, UK, and Ireland. Countries at the bottom of the ranking are: Kosovo, Azerbaijan, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The HPV Prevention Policy Atlas is a research project led by the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and supported by the European Cancer Organisation. It investigates how European public authorities perform across three key areas: primary prevention, secondary prevention (screening) and online information. The tool aims at providing up-to-date publicly available information across all countries of WHO European region in line with WHO cervical cancer elimination strategy and Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.

BUCHAREST: 22 June: The continuing inequalities in the incidence and deaths from all the cancers caused by HPV across the European region must be tackled. Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and World Health Organization (WHO) Europe’s roadmap on the elimination of cervical cancer clearly set out the actions required on vaccination and screening and the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) and the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) call on governments across the region to act. We must ensure that all European citizens receive the level of protection currently available in only a minority of countries. If not now, when?

EPF and ECO released today a new publication that scores European governmental policies on access to HPV prevention at the Romanian Parliament. 

HPV Prevention Policies in Romania:

The decision to launch the HPV Prevention Policy Atlas in Romania is for a good reason. Romania has the highest cervical cancer incidence and mortality rate in Europe, with about 32,3 new cases per 100.000 women and with up to 17 in every 100.000 women killed by the disease ‒ more than 
four times the EU average. Yet Romania has relatively low levels of HPV vaccination uptake and cervical cancer screening. Romania scores 65,7% in the Atlas and is ranked as medium/poor on HPV Prevention Policies. However, progress has been made since the first edition of the EPF Atlas with currently a strong momentum to making necessary policy changes to tackle the cancers caused by HPV.

HPV Prevention Policy Atlas:

HPV causes about 90,000 cancers a year in Europe[1]. These are all preventable with adequate vaccination, screening and prevention campaigns.

Since 2020, the HPV Prevention Policy Atlas has scored 48 European governments on their approach to HPV prevention. Its second edition finds that geographical disparities across Europe remain and that a visible East-West divide affects the region.

In 2023, the best-performing countries are Denmark, Sweden, Finland, UK, and Ireland. These countries have adopted best-practice policies in terms of HPV prevention such as national routine programmes on HPV vaccination, which are gender neutral and freely available and have led to high vaccination rates, monitored thanks to robust immunization data systems. Additionally, they provide adults with free HPV screening and websites with clear, factual information hosted by the public authorities. Countries at the bottom of the list include Kosovo and Azerbaijan. These are characterised by the absence of policies on primary and secondary prevention and lack reliable evidence-based information on HPV Prevention.

The launch event hosted by Hon. Catalin Tenita, MP brought together Members of Parliament, government, academia and civil society to mobilise and join forces to improve policies aimed at increasing HPV vaccinations screening and information coverage in Romania. It also aimed to discuss the effective implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’s goals on HPV cancer prevention.

Cătălin Teniță, MP (Romania), said: “By choosing vaccination we not only safeguard our health but also create countless memories and moments with our loved ones. These cherished times free of worry and full of laughter become a priceless legacy passed through generations. Let’s ensure everyone has a chance to create such a legacy”.

Neil Datta, Executive Director of EPF, said “The huge volume of new data included in the HPV Prevention Policy Atlas shines a light on the latest picture across Europe. This data demonstrates the wide range of HPV prevention policies in place and where significant improvement is needed. We hope the latest version of the Atlas provides policy-makers and politicians with the information they need to implement changes, including for gender-neutral vaccination and cervical cancer screening across Europe.

Mike Morrissey, CEO of the European Cancer Organisation, said: “We now have a fantastic opportunity to eliminate all the cancers caused by HPV from the whole of Europe, including Romania. But there are huge inequalities in vaccination and screening programmes across the region. That’s why we need to take action to support those countries that are falling behind so their citizens can benefit from the level of protection that is already available in the best-performing countries.

Other findings include:

Out of 48 countries in geographical Europe:

  • 39 countries (81%) offer a national routine programme on vaccination
  • 30 countries (62%) offer gender-neutral vaccination;
  • 23 countries (47%) have an HPV vaccination registry
  • 25 countries (52%) offer easy-to-find governmental websites with good or excellent information .

About project partners:

EPF is a network of members of parliaments from across Europe who are committed to protecting the sexual and reproductive health of the world’s most vulnerable people, both at home and overseas.

ECO - European Cancer Organisation - is a not-for-profit federation of 42 European medical societies working in cancer (oncologists, nurses and pharmacists) together with 21 European patient organisations. ECO convenes oncology professionals and patients to build consensus, agree on policy, advocate for change and be the united voice of the European cancer community. ECO has a dedicated HPV Action Network and the data from the Policy Atlas is included in the European Cancer Pulse. More information is available at and