LGBTIQ people aged between 25 and 74 with a cervix need regular cervical screening, because no matter who you have had as a sexual partner or what your gender identity is, you're still at risk of cervical cancer.
Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is passed on by intimate genital skin-to-skin contact, and It is not passed on by semen, blood or saliva.
The body can get rid of most HPV infections naturally but if it doesn’t, some types of HPV can cause changes to the cells of your cervix. If these cell changes are not picked up early and treated they can turn into cervical cancer.
What do I need to tell my doctor or nurse?
When you have your cervical screening appointment, you may be asked questions such as 'Are you sexually active?' and 'What form of contraception are you using?'. These questions and assumptions can be uncomfortable, so it's a good idea to think about how you would like to respond beforehand.
Choosing a health professional you are comfortable with is important, as they should use language that acknowledges diversity.
The choice to disclose information about your sexuality and gender identity is yours. However, disclosing this personal information may lead to a better experience because the doctor or nurse will be able to tailor your care based on how you identify.
If you choose to disclose, let your health professional know whether or not you want it recorded, as other professionals could have access to your medical records.
Health professionals are required by law to protect your confidentiality and maintain your privacy.
How do I find the right doctor or nurse?
Finding a health professional who understands the barriers LGBTIQ people with a cervix may face when seeking cervical screening may be challenging.
You can talk to friends to get recommendations of cervical screening providers that are a good fit.
What do I do if I feel discriminated against or uncomfortable during screening?
Occasionally a person may have a bad experience when having a Cervical Screening Test. If this happens to you, remember that you can stop the test or leave at any point during the consultation.
It's unlawful to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or lawful sexual activity (Equal Opportunity Act 2010). If you feel you have been discriminated against, sexually harassed, victimised or vilified, you or someone on your behalf can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. If you've had a bad experience but don't want to make a complaint, talk it over with friends or with someone who can offer you support. You can also speak to Cancer Council on 13 11 20.
Some people who choose not to have a doctor or nurse collect the Cervical Screening Test, may be eligible to take the sample themselves. This is called a self-collected Cervical Screening Test. Speak to your doctor or health professional to find out if you are eligible.