Lesbian and bisexual women are being wrongly told that they don’t need pap smears
Lesbian and bisexual women are wrongly being told not to get pap smears because of their sexual orientations.
LGBT charities have warned that 37% of women who have sex with women are being told not to seek out the cervical screening test, meaning nearly half of all lesbian and bisexual women may never seek out the tests in their lives.
It’s estimated that 3,200 women discover cervical cancer every year through pap smears.
The report urges women to insist on getting regular pap smears despite what they’re told.
Annie Emery, Head of Services for the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, said: “Over the years, some lesbian and bisexual women accessing screening have experienced homophobia, assumptions that they are heterosexual, inappropriate treatment and most worryingly of all, misinformation about their health when it comes to cervical screening.”
Liberal Democrat Baroness Elizabeth Barker in the foreword of the report said: ‘”To the NHS, we are largely invisible.
“Women who have sex with women lack acknowledgement both in mainstream society and LGBT communities.
“It is unacceptable that [they] continue to experience discrimination and that thoughtlessness compromises our healthcare,” Barker added.
As well as uncovering the worrying revelation about the push for tests, the report compiled by the National LGBT Partnership found that 21% of bisexual women and 12% of lesbian women reported long term mental health issues compared to 4% of heterosexual women.
29% of women who have sex with women also reported binge drinking, compared to 12% of heterosexual women.