Queer women misinformed about cervical smears
By GayNZ.com Daily News staff
11th May 2017 - 02:31 pm
A number of Auckland queer women are warning others that some health providers are recommending against smear testing, information that goes against Ministry of Health Guidelines.
All people with a cervix between the age of 20 to 70 need to undergo smear testing regularly, regardless of sexual identity or gender identity.
Three women spoke to The Wireless about their experiences of being ill-advised by health professionals and Gaynz Daily News has heard similar anecdotes from gender diverse people.
Takatāpui woman Lois Hawley-Simmonds says that she has been advised against smear testing from three separate health providers in the Manurewa and Manukau areas.
Speaking to The Wireless she said that in one instance, a nurse at a Manukau clinic misinformed her, despite telling her wife that because she previously had a male partner she would need to be tested.
“One of the women actually said, ‘I don’t know why you need to have a smear because you’re in a gay relationship. You’re a lesbian so there’s no need for you to have a smear’,” she said.
Another women, who wished to remain anonymous said that a nurse at the Family Planning Clinic in New Market told her because she had a female partner she wouldn’t need to be tested. It wasn’t until the woman insisted that the nurse carried out the test.
Family Planning responded by saying that this went against their policy and that it highlighted the need to remind staff of the organisations commitment to testing all clients.
Researcher Katie Palmer Du Preez has previously carried out research into the health and wellbeing of younger queer women and says she is very concerned for any women who are being denied accurate up-to-date health information that allows them to take care of themselves, and could potentially save their lives.
“We know that sexual health in the queer community has deep history in the AIDS epidemic and through the sexual health of gay men,” she says. “Unfortunately, lesbians and their sexual health needs are still invisible and we need to work harder to change this.”
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