In the U.S., approximately 12,000 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and 4,000 lives are lost. The United States Congress has designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month to get the word out about HPV, cervical cancer, and the importance of early detection.
Cervical cancer is caused by specific types of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is transmitted through genital skin-to-skin contact, so this includes genital rubbing, fingering, oral sex, sex with toys, and penetrative sex. Anyone with a cervix can contract cervical cancer, and this is an especially critical issue for trans men and genderqueer/gender non-conforming folks.
Cervical cancer is preventable through regular screenings and treatment. Here are some tips for reducing your risk.
- Get vaccinated. If you’re between 9 and 26 years old, you can get vaccinated against most forms of HPV. This vaccine will block the types of HPV most often found with cervical diseases.
- Starting at age 21, or within 3 years of your first sexual activity, get a Pap test every 1-2 years — even if you’ve been vaccinated.
- When recommended, get HPV tests.
- Practice safer sex! Employ condoms, gloves, and other barriers during sex to greatly reduce (but not eliminate) your risk of transmitting HPV and other infections.
- If you have any partners with cervixes, encourage them to take these preventative steps as well. Hey, might as well remind your friends and family while you’re at it!
Discrimination against trans folks is still a big issue with health care providers and insurance plans, but on November 21, 2011, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists expressed its opposition to gender identity discrimination and formally implored Ob-Gyns to provide routine treatment and screenings to transgender patients, including Pap tests. Also, starting in late 2012, most insurance companies will be required by law to cover screenings. If you encounter problems with insurance coverage, learn about filing an appeal here.
A few more resources for you:
- Check It Out Guys (creators of the excellent poster above) is a great resource on cervical health geared toward trans men.
- Planned Parenthood provides low-cost reproductive care.
- Resources PDX includes a medical directory for people of all genders. Tranz Guys PDX has a list of trans-friendly doctors.
- Black Women’s Health Imperative has a helpful page about cervical cancer.
- Our Bodies, Ourselves has a page on cervical tests and how to read a Pap test report.
Welcome to She Bop’s blog!
She Bop is a women-owned sex toy boutique specializing in body safe products and education. Our mission is to promote healthy and safe sexuality by offering quality products and educational workshops in a fun and comfortable environment. She Bop welcomes people of all genders and sexual orientations.
- May 7, 2014 – Pleasure, Power, and Pain: An Introduction to BDSM
- May 15, 2014 – Back That Ass Up!: Anal Sex 101
- May 29, 2014 – Female Ejaculation and the G-spot with Deborah Sundahl
- June 1, 2014 – Good in Bed/Good in Birth: Science and Celebration of Oxytocin
- June 18, 2014 – Exploring Burlesque: Striptease Salon
- June 26, 2014 – Full-Bodied Fellatio
- We are honored 2 be included on this list of women improving sex! There's a shout-out to Ti Chang of @FollowCrave too http://t.co/i7CHJ9NkXZ
- Happy Tuesday! Come shop with us today and you'll be supporting the life-saving efforts of @PWCL. http://t.co/pM8Lbd5Vjp
- This Wed: the hearing in the case challenging Oregon's ban on gay marriage. Show yr support by attending a vigil tmrw http://t.co/7I3T9nFrwY
- .@QDocFilm dropped off programs the other day and got us really excited! 1 month til this epic lineup of queer docs. http://t.co/HIrvjB7K7C
- Hippity hoppity! Open regular hours today so HOP on down spring chickens ;-) #easter #timetoplay http://t.co/vTsUGAqi2y
- Just added 3 workshops for June: a birth/oxytocin class, a burlesque class, and our popular fellatio class! Sign up: http://t.co/IIygndVEat
- For a queer woman with cerebral palsy, a small act of kink gave her more permission for pleasure than she'd ever had. http://t.co/eHXNR4V6tg
- Join our own @Amory_Jane for an evening of vintage sex ed clips & personal sex ed tales with @BitchMedia & @PPCW! http://t.co/F9WtlIipAn
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