SMEAR TESTS AND THE MISSING WOMEN

By Lucy Marley

Smear tests are at their lowest recorded level… ever.

THE MISSING WOMEN

Smear tests are at their lowest recorded level… ever.
So who’s missing them?
The NHS collects info on women attending by age, group and location…but not by anything else.
So the data is quite patchy.
Different barriers face different women. Culture, disability and previous sexual assaults can make it harder for women to get their smear tests.
But here’s what we do know.

KAVITA’S RESULT

Again… Kavita isn’t the only one to find out she has HPV.
She’s actually one of the 220,000 women who get diagnosed with HPV every year.
But she’s also one of the many who felt ashamed when she found out.

THE SHAME

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust did some research and found out it’s pretty common to feel isolated and ashamed after being diagnosed with HPV.

TABOOS

The thing is because we don’t really talk about HPV, there’s a lot of myths flying around.
A common one is only people who have a lot of sex with a lot of different people will end up getting HPV.
And that people in relationships don't need to worry about the risks.
Luckily I had a chat with Sarah Mulindwa, a sexual health nurse, to bust all those myths.

USING INSTAGRAM TO SPEAK UP

A couple of years on and Kavita says she’s educated herself on HPV and feels less shame.
She eventually told her Mum, close friends and is way more open about it.
Last year she even took to Instagram to share her experience and has already helped hundreds of women.
https://d2pmqfxhi6vfg3.cloudfront.net/images/mythbusting.webp
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