Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brody's Notes... Are You Ready For Your Screen Test? Cervical Screening Campaign For Lesbian & Bisexual Women

By Joanne Dunning (Manchester, England) NOV 9 | The “Are You Ready For Your Screen Test?” campaign aims to dispel the myths around lesbian and bisexual women and cervical screening, and raise awareness that lesbian and bisexual women do need regular cervical screening tests.
All women between the ages of 25 and 64 who have a cervix– including lesbian and bisexual women - need to go for regular cervical screening. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, can be passed on during sex. This includes sexual activity between two women.
The aim of The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s new campaign “Are You Ready For Your Screen Test?” is to raise awareness of cervical screening amongst women from the lesbian and bisexual community, encourage them to attend screening appointments, give them the confidence to use their rights, and provide advice to make it the best possible experience.
Annie Emery, The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s Programmes Manager said:
“Over the years, some lesbian and bisexual women accessing screening have experienced homophobia, assumptions that they are heterosexual, inappropriate treatment and, most damaging of all, misinformation about their health when it comes to cervical screening.
We want lesbian and bisexual women to be getting the best and most accurate health information to help them make informed decisions about their body and their health. We also want lesbian and bisexual women to know exactly what services are available to them. If a woman has been sexually active with a woman or a man she should be accessing cervical screening services.”
Over the next six months, the “Are You Ready For Your Screen Test?” campaign will get the message across via a number of launch events, outreach teams all over the North West, radio ads, videos, posters, postcards, free giveaways: including - hot off the press - the LGF’s new guide to cervical screening for lesbian and bisexual women “Are You Ready For Your Screen Test?”
Professor Julietta Patnick CBE, Director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes said: 
“The NHS Cancer Screening Programmes welcome this campaign to encourage lesbian and bisexual women to accept screening invitations.
Most research including that carried out by Dr Julie Fish of De Montfort University found that there is a low level of awareness of the cervical cancer risks for lesbians, among both healthcare staff and lesbians themselves. Many incorrectly believe that lesbians are not at risk at all. A clearer understanding of the transmission routes of HPV (the virus that causes cervical cancer) is crucial in helping to encourage all eligible women to accept screening invitations. Cervical screening saves 4,500 women’s lives every year in England alone.”
Making an appointment for a cervical screening test takes hardly any time at all, and the test itself takes just a few minutes – not long for something that could save your life.
For more information on the LGF’s new cervical screening campaign and to download the “Are You Ready For Your Screen Test?” resource visit www.lgf.org.uk/screening or email women@lgf.org.uk