Cervical Health Awareness: Trans Men and Genderqueer/Gender Nonconforming People
The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) wants to remind everyone that cervical health is a critical issue for trans men and genderqueer/gender nonconforming folks.
Anyone with a cervix can contract cervical cancer, so this means that lots of trans men and genderqueer/gender nonconforming people are at risk. But because trans people face widespread discrimination from health care providers and insurance plans, they often avoid seeking or cannot access preventive care. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, nearly half (48%) of trans men reported postponing or avoiding preventive care out to fear of discrimination and disrespect. One in five trans men also reported being refused health care because of their gender identity. Cervical cancer is preventable through regular screening and treatment where necessary, which means that trans men who aren’t getting preventive care are likely at greater risk of developing the disease.
Trans men and genderqueer/gender nonconforming people are at risk of developing cervical cancer even if they do not have penetrative sex. The major cause of cervical cancer, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), is transmitted through genital skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has the virus. This includes oral sex, sex with fingers or hands, genital rubbing, and sex with toys. So if you’re sexually active and you have a cervix, you may be at risk for cervical cancer regardless of who you are and you have sex with.
Here are ways we can prevent cervical cancer among trans men and genderqueer/gender nonconforming people:
If you’re between 9 and 26, you can get vaccinated against most forms of HPV.
Beginning at age 21 you should get Pap tests every two to three years (even if you’ve been vaccinated, and more frequently if recommended by your doctor), and sexual health screenings every year.
Get HPV tests when recommended.
Using condoms, gloves, and other barriers during sex can significantly reduce – but not eliminate – your risk of transmitting HPV and other infections
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