Remember…

  • some people are born with STI’s
  • some people contracted their STI’s through a non-sexual nature
  • some people did not consent to the act in which they received an STI
  • some people contracted an STI even while taking precautions
  • some people had partners lie to them about their sexual health and history
  • some people did not have the same education you did about STI’s
  • some people just made a mistake
  • ALL PEOPLE with STI’s deserve the same love, respect, and healthy sex life as people without STI’s 
If you're an ace with a cervix...

I’m posting this because I’ve seen this question come up a number of times in posts and comments, and there seems to be a lot of confusion and uncertainty around it.

If you are sexually active, or have been previously, you should have regular Pap tests according to the schedule recommended by your doctor.

If you are not sexually active and have never been sexually active, you may not need to have Pap tests done and you should talk to your doctor. Cervical cancer is almost always caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV infection is almost always caused by sexual (specifically, genital) contact. Because of this, if you are not sexually active and have never been sexually active, there’s a good chance your doctor will recommend that you do not need to have Pap tests done.

You do not need to tell them that you’re asexual, since this is about behavior rather than attraction or orientation.

A lot of things written about Pap tests and cervical cancer seem to assume that all people with cervixes over age 21 are or have been sexually active and they may not provide a specific recommendation in the case of a sexually non-active adult. This seems to be the source of most of the confusion and uncertainty (public health officials, may I kindly suggest not making heteronormative and sex-normative assumptions).

A Pap test is, shall we say, not the world’s most comfortable procedure and sex-averse or sex-repulsed aces may feel especially anxious about it (many of us have a specific aversion or repulsion response to the idea of having something in the vagina). So it’s worth talking with your doctor to find out if you may not need to have it done after all.

I had talked previously with my doctor about this and he had said it was not necessary. Then this week, my healthcare provider’s automated system looked at my age, gender, and medical history and flagged me as needing to have a Pap test done ASAP. I talked to my doctor again and he not only confirmed that I don’t need to have it done, but he put a special note on my record so that I don’t keep getting these reminders. It may seem a bit scary to bring it up, but it can be worth it and make your life easier.

anonymous asked:

Opinion on Gardasil? My doctor and mom are both are urging me to get it but I'm nervous because my close friend got epilepsy after she got it ( not sure if that was a coincidence or not). Do you think the pro's outweigh the negative effects?

My opinion on vaccines is: 

MY OPINION DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE SCIENCE.

But if you really want my opinion on vaccines, here it is: 

GET THEM.  

Let’s talk Pros of Getting any vaccine:

  • not getting the disease
  • not dying from the disease
  • getting a milder, non-life threatening course of the disease if you do get the disease 
  • not giving the disease to other people who may be sicker than you, have immune deficiencies, or co-morbid medical problems that put them at high risk 
  • in general, the shot is WAAAY cheaper in $$ and in “quality/quantity of life” lost when compared to getting the disease it protects against. 
  • your immune system will love you for it

Cons of getting a vaccine:

  • you might be one of the few that has a true allergy to the vaccine or the ingredients in the preparation
  • you might have a sore arm or butt
  • you might get a little low-grade fever, muscle aches, or general cantankerous attitude afterward. 

Let’s talk specifically about Gardasil. 

Pros of getting the shots:

  • Protected against getting or passing on high-risk strains of the HPV virus that cause changes in the cervix that lead to cancer. 
  • Protects against strains that cause 75% of cervical cancers. 
  • Protects against strains that cause 70% of vaginal cancers.
  • Protects against strains that cause 50% of vulvar cancers.
  • Some evidence suggests it protects against some oral/pharyngeal cancers. 
  • Protects against 2 main strains that cause 90% of genital warts (so no bumpy hoo-has in your future)
  • Not having to go through the uncomfortable/painful experiences of Colposcopies/LEEPs/CKCs/hysterectomies that come out of having pre-cancerous changes from HPV or from having full blown cervical cancer. 
  • Did I mention that it prevents cancers?

Cons of getting the shots:

  • Soreness at injection site, low grade temp, aches. 
  • Possible allergic reaction.

The only other thing that protects against HPV and GU cancers that well is lifetime celibacy. So if you’re going to be a monk or a nun, then ok, maybe you can hold off on the shot.

Finally, let’s remind of everyone of correlation vs. causation. 

Just because 2 things happened close together in time or follow similar patterns doesn’t mean one thing caused the other. 

For example: Every morning I brush my teeth. Every morning my cat takes a poop. Did the smell of my toothpaste cause her to take a poop? Doubtful.

Also here’s some charts to consider for you charty-type people.

So Anon, I will put it back on you. Do YOU think the pros of not getting cancer outweigh the cons of I might feel a bit crappy for a day or two?

You decide. 

A new HPV vaccine prevents nine strains of the virus
It could help protect females AND males from a range of cancers.

FIONA MACDONALD 

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is pretty nasty - not only can it trigger genital warts, but if it’s not controlled by the immune system, researchers have found that it can also lead to a range of cancers.

Most famously, various strains of the virus are involved in more than 99 percent of cervical cancer cases. But scientists have recently found that HPV can also triggeranal and oral cancer, and although current campaigns are targeted to young women, both males and females could benefit from being protected.

There are already two effective vaccines on the market, Gardasil, which protects against four strains of the virus, and Cervarix, which protects against two. But new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed that a new vaccine, Gardasil-9, can protect against, you guessed it, nine strains of the virus.

A randomised, double-blind clinical trial of 14,215 women aged between 16 and 26 found that Gardasil-9 can protect against five additional strains when compared to Gardasil - HPV-6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.

This means that the new vaccine could in theory prevent 90 percent of cervical cancers, compared to the 70 percent Gardasil currently stops. Overall there are 14 strains of HPV associated with cervical cancer (out of 100 known strains), so being able to protect against more than half of them is a big step forward.

As Cathleen O’Grady reports for Ars Technica, the new vaccine was also associated with more side effects than the current options, but they weren’t severe:

“In the Gardasil-9 trial, the nine-valent vaccine was associated with more side effects, but the effects were not comparably dangerous to the kinds of cancers prevented by the vaccine. The slightly higher rate was to be expected, the researchers note, because the new vaccine has more virus-like antigens. The most common effects included swelling and pain at the injection site, and some patients experienced headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue.”

Despite these side effects, it’s hoped that the new uptake will be encouraged in both males and females - something that’s important given how common the virus is.

“The female-only campaigns leave men who have sex with men unprotected,” lead author of the paper Elmar Joura, from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, told O’Grady.

At any given time, one quarter of Americans have HPV, and it’s estimated that almost all sexually active people will be infected at some point in their life. And if these infections aren’t cleared up by our immune systems, they can lead to cancers.

The researchers are also hoping that the new vaccine may help increase the uptake of the vaccine, which in the US in particular is low, with only 33.4 percent of girlshaving completed the course of three HPV vaccines, compared to 60.4 percent in the UK and 71.2 percent in Australia.

While a vaccine that protects against only some types of cancer may not be as headline-worthy as a new treatment or a cure, it’s incredible that we have a quick and easy way to protect ourselves against a whole range of cancers. And even more incredible that not everyone who is able to use it chooses to do so.

Source: Ars Technica

through Science Alert

What’s the deal with the HPV vaccine?

Someone asked us…

what’s the deal with the HPV vaccine? should i get it? what does it even do?

The HPV vaccine is really awesome and important. Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common STD out there — nearly all sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lives. Most of the time, these infections are harmless and go away on their own. However, some types of HPV have been linked to cancer and genital warts.

There are two HPV vaccines out there right now: Gardasil and Cervarix. Both vaccines are given in a series of three separate shots over six months.

Like the common cold or the flu, there are a LOT of different types of HPV. Like, more than 100. Types 16 and 18 cause about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, and both Gardasil and Cervarix protect against these. Gardasil also protects against types 6 and 11 — the two that cause about 90 percent of genital warts.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for all people between the ages of 11-12. That’s because it works best if gotten before becoming sexually active. But you can totally get it up through age 26. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t cure HPV if you already have it. Like all vaccines, it’s prevention, not treatment. So the earlier you get it, the better it works.

With a new school year around the corner, now’s the perfect time to get the HPV vaccine and spread the word about how important it is. So if you, a friend, sibling, or anyone else you know between the ages of 9 and 26 still haven’t gotten the vaccine, encourage them to talk to their nurse or doctor. Or call your nearest Planned Parenthood — our health centers provide nearly 40,000 HPV vaccines a year, so we’ve gotten pretty good at it!

-Kellie at Planned Parenthood

Prevent Cancer Today: #VaccinateHPV!

About 79 million people in the U.S. have human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and another 14 million get HPV each year.  Who should get vaccinated and why?

HPV infection can cause genital warts and can lead to cancer many years later

  • Each year, there are approximately 33,200 HPV-associated cancers in the U.S. – about 20,600 in women and 12,600 in men. HPV cancers include cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers.
  • Early vaccination and prevention is critical for cancer prevention, which is why it is especially important for parents to take control and bring their pre-teens and teens to the doctor to receive the vaccine.

The best way to prevent HPV is with a vaccine, which may be up to 99% effective in preventing these cancers.

  • The vaccine is recommended for all girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 12. It is important to vaccinate your child now, before he or she is old enough to be exposed to HPV. The vaccine may be given to pre-teens as young as 9.
  • Females aged 13 through 26 and males aged 13 through 21 should be vaccinated if they have not previously received the vaccine.
  • Men who have sex with men, who are at greater risk for HPV infection, and men with weak immune systems (including those who have HIV/AIDS) aged 22 through 26 should also receive the HPV vaccine.

The vaccine is safe!

  • Nearly 67 million doses of HPV vaccine have been given in the U.S. through March 2014, and studies provide continued evidence of the vaccine’s safety. The most common side-effects are mild, temporary symptoms, including soreness where the shot was given and fever, headache and nausea.

Save yourself an additional trip to the doctor!

  • The HPV vaccine is safe to receive with the other recommended adolescent vaccines. Many children also see health care professionals for physicals before school or for participation in sports, camping events, travel and so on. These are all great opportunities for your preteen or teen to get the HPV vaccine.

Visit our HPV page to learn more & ask your child’s provider about the HPV vaccine today!

HPV vaccine doesn’t lead to teen sex

Parents worried that vaccinating their adolescent daughters for the human papillomavirus (HPV) might encourage them to engage in risky sexual behavior — or to start having sex in the first place — should rest easy, according to a new study released Monday.

Young girls and women who get the HPV vaccine are not more likely to practice unprotected sex after receiving it, according to a study conducted by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

In addition, those women who had never had sex at the time they were vaccinated were not more likely to start, the study found, a result that backs up previous studies that came to the same conclusion.

Read more

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Can anyone get HPV?

Someone asked us:

My teacher told me only women get HPV and not men; I don’t think that’s right or true. Could I get some clarification?

You’re right on this one. Anyone can get HPV— which is why it’s so important for everyone to get the HPV vaccine. There are a lot of different types of HPV, and most of them go away on their own and don’t cause cancer — but sometimes HPV can lead to cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, penis, mouth or throat. The type of cancer that’s most often caused by HPV is cervical cancer, which is why some people associate HPV with people who have a cervix.

Unfortunately there’s no HPV test for people who are packing a penis. Those of us with a cervix can go to a doctor for an HPV or Pap test to look for HPV or any HPV-caused abnormal cells. HPV is super common, but the problems it can cause are easily treated when caught early.

Hope this helps!

-Kellie at Planned Parenthood

 

anonymous asked:

What are your thoughts on the Gardisil vaccine?

I think you should absolutely, 50000% get it.  It is safe and effective.  It protects from both the HPV strains that cause cancer and the strains that cause genital warts, both things I want to avoid.  

In Australia, for example, there is a free HPV vaccination program to all DFAB teens ages 12-26, and the country has had a sharp decline in genital warts.  DFAB people ages 12-26 in Australia have 59% fewer cases of genital warts within 2 years of the program beginning.  DMAB people of the same age range have had a decrease of 39% of genital warts cases.  The cases of abnormal pap results also declined significantly.

So go do it!!  Get it ASAP and protect yourself.

Here is another, much more in-depth post about the same thing.

The most common STI in the United States is HPV. The CDC reports that there are currently about 79 million people in the U.S infected with the STI and about 14 million new people get infected every year. There are more than 100 types of HPV that can affect someone, and about 40 that can affect the genitals. Although, HPV is not typically a deadly infection it can lead to cervical cancer and certain other genital and throat cancers. HPV can be spread though oral, anal, and vaginal sex. HPV is a very common STI and nearly all sexually active people with get it at some point in their lives. However, it is a serious infection that should be treated early on. It is also important for people to consistently get Pap Smears and get tested for other STIs as the earlier it is diagnosed, the better the outcome will be. 

Tracy M, Sex Educator 

More than two-thirds of healthy Americans are infected with human papilloma viruses

In what is believed to be the largest and most detailed genetic analysis of its kind, researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and elsewhere have concluded that 69 percent of healthy American adults are infected with one or more of 109 strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). Only four of the 103 men and women whose tissue DNA was publicly available through a government database had either of the two HPV types known to cause most cases of cervical cancer, some throat cancers, and genital warts.

Researchers say that while most of the viral strains so far appear to be harmless and can remain dormant for years, their overwhelming presence suggests a delicate balancing act for HPV infection in the body, in which many viral strains keep each other in check, preventing other strains from spreading out of control. Although infection is increasingly known to happen through skin-to-skin contact, HPV remains the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. It is so common that experts estimate nearly all men and women contract some strain of it during their lives.

Researchers at NYU Langone found 109 strains of HPV infection in tissue samples from the skin, vagina, mouth and gut of “healthy” American adults. Credit: Yingfei Ma, PhD, for NYU Langone

How Many Cancers Are Linked with HPV Each Year?

Each year, about 33,000 new cases of cancer are found in parts of the body where human papillomavirus (HPV) is often found. HPV causes about 26,800 of these cancers.

Number of HPV-Associated Cancer Cases per Year

An HPV-associated cancer is a cancer that is diagnosed in a part of the body where HPV is often found. These parts of the body include the cervix, anus, penis, vagina, vulva, and oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils). Researchers use cancer registry data to estimate the number of HPV-associated cancers in the United States by looking at cancer in parts of the body and cancer cell types that are more likely to be caused by HPV. Cancer registries do not routinely collect data on whether HPV is in the cancer tissue. CDC studies1 2 have reported the number of HPV-associated cancer cases per year, and these studies have more information on how HPV-associated numbers were calculated.

Number of HPV-Attributable Cancer Cases per Year

An HPV-attributable cancer is a cancer that is probably caused by HPV. HPV causes nearly all cervical cancers and many cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, vulva, and oropharynx. CDC studies3 4 5 used population-based data from cancer tissue to estimate the percentage of these cancers that are probably caused by HPV.

(From CDC)

According to the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Latinas are less likely than other groups to have access to employer sponsored health coverage or private plans. Sixty-six percent of immigrant women don’t have access to employer sponsored coverage.

The situation is even worse for Latinas in Texas whose rates are 19 percent higher than the national average and 11 percent higher than the national average for Latinas. Women living in counties on the U.S. Mexico border are 31 percent more likely to die of cervical cancer compared to women in non-border counties.