Lesbian and Bisexual Women Risk HPV Cervical Cancer

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Any woman with an intact cervix who is sexually active – gay or straight – should have regular cervical screening. – Gaystarnews.com (1)

Many lesbian and bisexual women risk their lives unnecessarily.

They are not often tested for HPV, the virus that can lead to cervical cancer. In fact, because of a misconception, many doctors tell lesbian and bisexual women that there is no need for HPV testing.

“Lesbian and bisexual women are at risk of contracting HPV which is the cause of 99.7% of cervical cancers. Therefore all eligible women, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have regular cervical screening.” – Robert Music, director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

Bisexual women and HPV

A survey by Stonewall.org said “lesbian and bisexual women were often excluded from routine testing for cervical cancer.” The survey also found that these women were afraid or reluctant to be honest “about their sexual orientation with healthcare professionals as they feared stigma and discrimination.”  (1)

In addition, “Many women said they had been wrongly advised they did not need screening and some had even been refused screening as they only had female partners. Women respondents also said healthcare professionals had asked inappropriate questions or had wrongly assumed they were heterosexual.”(1)

The bottom line for lesbian and bisexual women?

“HPV can be easily transmitted between women and lesbian and bisexual women should have the same screening as heterosexual ones.” – Jennifer S Smith, international Cervical Cancer-Free Coalition

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