Cancer Council Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health are joining forces to encourage more people in the LGBTIQ community to undergo regular cervical screening, with a campaign launching this week as part of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week.
Latest research shows that around 1 in 5 (20%) Victorians with a cervix, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, same sex attracted, transgender, or who have an intersex variation, have never had a Pap test (the former method of cervical screening)i.
Cancer Council Victoria Screening, Early Detection and Immunisation Manager, Kate Broun, said the top two reasons that LGBTIQ Victorians didn’t undergo cervical screening is because they were embarrassed or frightened, or because they thought they did not need to.
“We’re really excited to partner with Thorne Harbour Health to spread the message that if you have a cervix, you need a cervical screening test - no matter who you have had as a sexual partner. There is now a new cervical screening test available which is only needed every five years between the ages of 25 and 74.,” Ms Broun said.
“This campaign will help to explain to members of the LGBTIQ community that they are in fact at risk of cervical cancer and empower them to participate regularly in the safe and inclusive screening options available.”
The campaign features a diverse range of talent; including Sandy Anderson, a registered nurse and passionate campaigner for inclusive cervical screening messaging, and Aram Hosie, a well-known national and international advocate for LGBTIQ rights.
Thorne Harbour Health Women’s Health Project Lead, Rachel Cook, said “As an LGBTIQ-controlled organisation, we believe our communities need responses developed by us. We wanted the imagery across this campaign to be an authentic representation of our community.
“We are proud to support this campaign to increase participation in cervical screening and ultimately reduce cervical cancer rates within the LGBTIQ community.”
Campaigner Sandy Anderson emphasises that “Whatever your sexual identity, if you have a cervix then you need cervical screening. Seek out a health practitioner that you would be comfortable going to for a cervical screen.”
To find out more about the Cervical Screening Program and the options available for LGBTIQ people, visit cervicalscreening.org.au/LGBTIQ or speak to a GP or health professional.
i Cancer Council Victoria commissioned a survey of 303 Victorians with a cervix, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, same sex attracted, transgender, or who have an intersex variation, in 2016.