Having a cervical smear test sits right up there with some of the most embarrassing experiences women go through. Unfortunately it is a necessary evil, especially for those of us living with HIV who are recommended to have them once a year.
Why so often? Well the evidence supporting this recommendation is that women living with HIV have a higher risk of persistent HPV (human papilloma virus) infection and certain types of this infection can lead onto cervical cancer. A persistent HPV infection is one that does not clear on its own and can lead to abnormal pre-cancerous cell changes. These changes, if left untreated, can result in cervical cancer.
So, it’s highly recommended we do, so how can we make this process less embarrassing and less awkward?
Attending a women friendly clinic is a very good start.
Positive Women Inc. are currently working with the Well Women and Family Trust and Hilary Gerrad, counsellor and nurse specialist from the Burnette Centre, to offer free Cervical Smear testing for Women living with HIV. The testing would be done in a woman friendly environment in a professional and considerate way which respects cultural and ethnic diversities.
We hope to start this partnership in late August early September. We will keep you posted. Alternatively, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at Positive Women Inc.
Phone: (09) 623 9183
Free phone: 0800 769 848