So the thing is: Last night a very close friend called up to tell me that one of her colleagues who’s just 26 is diagnosed with cervical cancer and it is important that I get a pap smear done, asap.
Cervical cancer is mainly caused by Human Papilloma Virus, which is caught through sexual intercourse. So what, I thought, if I haven’t had sex with a man, I am unlikely to get cervical cancer. But the next thing that knocked my head off was – does the sex need to be with a man?
Now dear readers, To be honest with you all, the idea that one could catch HPV through lesbian sex didn’t ever cross my mind. I always associated this virus to be a “heterosexual” virus. So after this conversation with my friend, I thought its best to spend some time investigating on the subject rather than just ignoring the suggestion. And my findings were quite interesting.
Lesbian and bisexual women have exactly the same probability of developing cervical cancer as heterosexual women! [Should we be glad that HPV does not discriminate against gender or sexual orientation??]
HPV is JUST one of the main causes of cervical cancer; the other factors being smoking, a weakened immune system, bad hygiene, sex life & genetics.
One may contract HPV through one’s own previous sexual behavior with men; in addition, to sex with a female partner who has had previous heterosexual sex.
Modes of transmission are commonly understood to include vaginal penetration with fingers and skin to skin contact. HPV may also be transmitted through the use of sex toys (I know this is bad news!!).
So, yeah we are not spared. Which means I’ll go for the test this very weekend. But I am sure getting the damn test done won’t be easy. It is in a way important that I disclose my sexual orientation to my doc considering her suggestions would be more suitable. And with it comes the damn fear of discrimination & insensitivity. But that should not stop me from taking good care of my health & that of the one I love so dearly, right?
So, yeah loving myself as a lesbian does mean loving my body & taking good care of it.
So darlings, wishing u all good luck, stay committed towards your health, practice safe sex, get regular tests done, give-up smoking(that goes for me too!).
Cheers to being out and proud not just as a queer but as a healthy & responsible one!