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Lesbians Still Need Smear Tests!

There's a rumor going around that lesbians don't need smear tests to detect early signs of cervical cancer! This rumor seems to have developed from ill-informed doctors believing that women who have sex with women have no risk of catching the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the disease that causes most forms of cervical cancer. Well they couldn't be further from the truth! If you or friends of yours have been told that they don't need smear tests because of their sexuality then you or they should demand one now!

Let's Get The Facts Straight!

The real facts speak for themselves. It is true that lesbians are at less risk of catching HPV than straight women, but they are still at risk of cervical cancer. This is especially true if:

1. You smoke
2. You have had sexual relationships with men in the past, in particular relationships at a young age where you didn't use condoms.
3. You regularly exchange bodily fluids with your partner who has had several male partners in the past.

Even if you are fortunate enough to never have had sex with a man and knew from an early age that you were a lesbian you are still at risk of cervical abnormalities. In recent tests it was found that 10% of lesbian women tested had cervical abnormalities and 5% of lesbians who had never had sex with a man did too! This just goes to show that any woman can develop cervical cancer and if your doctor or physician tells you otherwise they are wrong!

How Do Smears Help?
In simple terms, smears save your life. They can detect HPV and any other signs of abnormality at a very early stage, even before cancer has had a chance to develop. Every woman between the ages of 20 and 64 should have a smear test every three to five years as such regular screening prevents 75% of cancer of the cervix by ensuring that you get early treatment.

What Happens?
Your physician or doctor's surgery will have your name and screening details and every three to five years you will be invited to a screening. It has to be said that it's not the most dignified thing to do, as you have to lie down (with your legs akimbo) and let a doctor or trained nurse insert a speculum to hold your vagina open so that they can get a cell sample, but if it helps to prevent you from getting cervical cancer then you should force yourself to go. You have to overcome the embarrassment; just think of the potential risk to your health if you don't go.

If you don't want to be examined by a male doctor or nurse then specify before your appointment that you would like a female. Also, if you like, insist that your partner comes in to hold your hand and give you the support that you need.

Are There Clinics For Lesbians?
Well, we all wish there was a clinic in every town that exists purely for lesbians. You probably won't find one in the town where you live, but you may be able to determine, from word of mouth, physicians or clinics that are comfortable with lesbianism and show no signs of discrimination.

The Clinic in Manchester UK can be heralded as an overnight success. This has been developed specifically for lesbian women to have smear tests with doctors and trained nurses who are sympathetic and understanding to women that have sex with women. We just wish there were more out there - but who knows, perhaps in decades to come we will be surprised!

The Future of Screening
As cervical screening is uncomfortable, and somewhat embarrassing, we all wish there was a miracle cure or vaccine out there. Well, you will be delighted to hear that a vaccine has been trialed in the last year against HPV. Although we will have to wait several years for any conclusive results to be drawn, this is certainly a giant leap forward in helping you to maintain your dignity.

In the meantime, it is also being considered whether, or not, women could take their own smear samples and then hand them in to there local clinic, or physician, for analysis. Whether, or not, we will be adept enough about getting great samples who knows, but you can bet that lesbians would be skilled at it and your partner would be very willing to help you out!

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