January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and the New Year is a perfect time to take charge of your health with important preventive screenings such as Pap tests, which detect irregularities that can lead to cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood encourages anyone over age 21 to talk to a health care provider about cervical cancer screening. Call 1-866-476-1321 to request an appointment. Same day and next day appointments available!
Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of HPV, or human papillomavirus, a very common sexually transmitted infection. In most cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally — but high-risk HPV may lead to cervical cancer in some women.
Here’s an easy to understand video all about Cervical Cancer and HPV from our project A Naked Notion with Laci Green.
Some tips to protect yourself from HPV:
- Get the HPV vaccine from Planned Parenthood! Call 1-866-476-1321 or click here to request an appointment.
- Use protection if you have sex. Condoms can lower the risk of passing HPV if used correctly every time you have sex. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom — so they may not fully protect against HPV. Free condoms are available at all PPNNE health centers!
- Talk with your sexual partners. You can be exposed to HPV by having genital skin-to-skin contact just once with someone who has the virus, so it’s important to talk with your partner about the importance of being protected and safe.
- Get regular Pap tests. A Pap test can find abnormal cells (that are caused by HPV) in the cervix before the cells become cancer. Women should have routine Pap tests every three years starting at age 21.
Need health insurance? As part of the new health care law, more Americans will have access to the care they need. That includes Pap tests, testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and the HPV vaccine — all covered without having to pay out of pocket for co-pays and other expenses. PPNNE is a Navigator organization and we can help you find & enroll in a health insurance plan. Call 1-866-476-1321