If you've got it, Pap it!
Get your smear on at an LGBT-welcoming gynecologist
If you've got it, Pap it! is Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center's campaign to increase cervical cancer screening rates in the Lehigh Valley.
According to the American Cancer Society, lesbian and bisexual women get less routine cancer screenings than the majority population. For transgender or non-binary people assigned female at birth but who do not identify as women, there are frequently fears of healthcare discrimination as well as disassociation with gynecologic body parts. What's more, the LGBT community as a whole engages in higher risk-behaviors as a result of social and cultural experiences with discrimination, familial homophobia and transphobia, and minority stress. The World Health Organization notes that cervical cancer is the most commonly contracts HIV-related disease and identifies several risk factors for Cervical Cancer, including HPV. HPV is widely understood to be sexually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact (with or without condom usage.) The CDC recommends cervical Pap tests for people with cervixes every 3-5 years depending on age and symptomatic/asymptomatic results.
The need for increased awareness of cervical Pap tests for LGBT people assigned female at birth is clear. 70% of all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, and in Pennsylvania 90% of Pennsylvania women have had a cervical Pap test during their lifetime and 69% have had a cervical Pap test during the last three years. However, among LGBT people assigned female at birth, just 54.5% have had a cervical Pap test in the last three years.
THE BARRIERS TO CARE
There are numerous barriers in place. One in four LGBT people in the Lehigh Valley report having had a negative past experience from a healthcare professional and one in ten fear going to a health care professional as a result. With regard to cervical Pap tests, lesbians have reported being repeatedly asked about why they aren't on birth control, and the 'pinking' of gyncelogic cancers is a barrier to care throughout the LGBT community. Waiting rooms are often not reflective or representational of the LGBT patient population. For transgender men, barriers to cervical Pap tests are compounded with providers that lack cultural humility and medical competency regarding gynecologic care for the transgender patient population. Further, there is a knowledge gap within the LGBT community regarding how HPV cancers are spread and regarding the importance of routine cancer screenings.
If you've got it, Pap it! is an evidenced-based campaign to increase cervical Pap testing among LGBT people assigned female at birth in the Lehigh Valley.
If you've got it, Pap it! was funded through a grant from Women's 5K Classic.