Certain STIs, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis – can spread between women. Oral sex and sexual behaviour involving digital-vaginal contact, particularly with shared penetrative sex toys, can spread infections between partners as well.
Female sexual contact is also a possible means of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS and many sexually transmitted infections, such as HPV and genital herpes. The best way to stay healthy is to practice safe sex.
A Pap smear is a screening procedure for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix. A pap smear is not usually used to detect herpes, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea or other common STDs and STIs. During the routine procedure, cells from your cervix (the opening to the top of your uterus) are gently scraped away and examined for abnormal growth. The procedure is done at our offices.
The test should not be performed during your menstrual period, since the presence of blood may interfere with the results. The best time to schedule a Pap smear is two weeks after the start of your last menstrual period.
HPV is a virus that causes warts and increases the chance of cervical cancer. If you have HPV, you may be at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer and will need regular pap smears done.
Some lesbian women struggle to find a doctor knowledgeable about their specific health issues and with whom they feel comfortable discussing their needs and concerns. The Queer Wellness Centre is one place to find a doctor capable of meeting your needs.
We highly recommend building a relationship with your doctor and attending the clinic annually for a check-up and routine screening.
If you are having sex with multiple partners, you should schedule regular screenings for sexually transmitted infections. Also share any other health concerns you might have with your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment help promote long-term health.