As a busy college student, it may be hard to fit in a doctor’s appointment between tests, meetings, work, and family. This may be especially true for those Educated Latinas that live on campus or with roommates; without mommy’s watchful eye, your health may take a backseat. Putting YOUR health first will ensure that you stick around long enough to enjoy the benefits of your degree.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, According to the CDC, at least “50% of people will contract HPV in their lives. Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems from it. In 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years.” However, without regular checkups with your gyno, HPV can evolve into cervical cancer.
Though most women will contract HPV, Latinas have the highest risk for developing cervical cancer. Why? The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIHR), says, ” Latinas face (2nd) high(est) mortality rates from cervical cancer as a result of their low rates of cervical cancer screening. Latinas’ limited access to adequate cervical cancer screenings is a result of barriers to access such as fear associated with their lack of immigration status, embarrassment, lack of knowledge, lack of insurance and lack of English proficiency.” Here’s what you can do to prevent yourself, your family and friends from being a statistic:
1) Go to your Gyno– NLIHR states, “Cervical cancer is very preventable. 85% of women who die from cervical cancer never had a pap smear.” Do not let this be you! Find your local gynecologist office and schedule and an appointment for a PAP test and pelvic exam A.S.A.P. If you are also experiencing other issues with your “Goodies” do not, I repeat, do not be afraid to ask your gyno. Trust me, she has heard it all so speak up! It’s better to be safe than sorry.
2) Practice Safe Sex– If you haven’t heard it enough, here it is again. Protect yourself and your future by practicing safe sex at all times. Besides preventing pregnancy you are doing your body a favor by keeping STI’s (sexually transmitted infections) and their sticky repercussions at bay.
2) Spread the word– Finally, encourage all the women in your life to go get checked especially if there is a history of cancer in your family. Calm their nerves by sharing your experience with them and maybe even offering to go with them.
It is so heartbreaking to lose such amazing and strong mothers, sisters, wives, daughters to a preventable illness as cervical cancer. Let’s all do our part to protect ourselves and our loved ones!