There are not many things that bother me. I tend to keep out of politics, avoid confrontation at all costs and I never really get involved in campaigns or protests. However, there is one thing that is extremely important to me. If you live in England, you may have heard the recent news reports about smear tests for cervical cancer. I recently filled in a questionnaire which was aiming to find out how clued up young people are on these tests and how likely they are to take them in the future. It is clear that the need for these tests is very much in the forefront of peoples minds at the moment. The thing I have a problem with, however, is the fact that us girlies have to wait until we're 25 until we can take the test.
25 is far too old, in my opinion. In recent years there have been too many deaths of those under the age of 25, deaths that could have been prevented if those girls had been allowed to have the smear test at a younger age. In my group of 5 close female friends (from my hometown) two of them had already contracted HPV which was in the process of developing into cervical cancer. Both were told that they were in the beginning stages of cervical cancer and were promptly treated. Those two friends were lucky enough to have significant enough symptoms to warrant a test.
HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus and is the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide. It is more common than Chlamydia. In a large number of cases, it does get cleared by the body, naturally, within a couple of years, but it can also lead to cervical cancer. In 2008 a vaccination was introduced that prevents this virus. However, the vaccine can only be administered to girls between the ages of 9 and 25 who have not been exposed to HPV before - ie girls who have not yet had sexual intercourse. That leaves a gigantic gap for us girls who have not been able to get the vaccine, but still have years before we can get the smear test. That means if we have the virus, it has plenty of time to develop without our knowledge.
I understand that there are health risks when having the smear test underage. The results are not always reliable and of course it's expensive too. However, I firmly believe that those of us who are experiencing unusual symptoms, have been diagnosed with another sexually transmitted infection or who have not practiced safe sex and believe that we have been exposed to the infection have the right to be tested. After all, is it not better to be safe than sorry?
What are your views, my dears? Do you think the age should be lowered, or at least that allowances should be made for those of us who might be experiencing some of the symptoms of this terrible disease?
Also, please feel free to join in with my new Monday blog theme 'It Matters Monday'. It would be lovely to read about the things most important to you guys (and it's nice to get a little inspiration when we're stuck for post ideas, isn't it :) I'll put the button up in my sidebar shortly, in the meantime feel free to copy it from here.