A new campaign is encouraging LGBTQI+ people who have a cervix to have regular cervical screenings, noting that 1 in 5 have never had a Pap test, according to a 2016 survey.
"There's a rumour that's been running ride through the LGBTIQ community that somehow we're magically exempt from cervical cancer. But here's a heads-up, that's actually not true," say Daniels and Mason in the video.
"If you're a human with a cervix ... and your bits have touched anybody else's bits - ever, absolutely ever - then you might have been exposed to HPV, and that nasty little virus can cause cervical cancer, so you my friend need a cervical screening."
A 2016 survey commissioned by PapScreen Victoria questioned 303 Victorians with a cervix who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, same-sex attracted, transgender, gender diverse, or who have an intersex variation.
The majority of recipients said that a lack of sensitive care affected the health services they receive, and in some cases, led to them avoiding cancer screenings.
Some 23 per cent had never had a Pap test, listing the main reasons as:
- 'I don't think I need one' (28%)
- 'embarrassing or frightening' (52%)
- 'worried about homophobia or transphobia' (20%)
- 'I am concerned that I will be mis-gendered' (16%)
Regular cervical screenings prevent nine out of 10 cervical cancers. They are necessary even if you have only had sex with women, haven't had sex in a long time, have had the HPV vaccine, identify as a man but have a cervix, or feel uncomfortable about the procedure.
PapScreen Victoria spokesperson Hiranthi Perera said the campaign also offered a list of health providers across Australia who have been recommended by the community as being sensitive to LGBT people.
“Our awareness campaign will draw attention to the fact that all people with a cervix are equally at risk of cervical cancer, while empowering them to participate in cervical screening and know what to do in case they feel judged, discriminated or uncomfortable with their service provider,” Ms Perera said.
The campaign will also provide a new fact sheet for health professionals to make their clinics and health care more sensitive to the needs of the LGBT community.