Question: Do you have buttsex? If so, you should be getting anal pap smears to protect yourself from the effects of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The Advocate recently made a great case for them:
The main reason to get an anal Pap test is to determine if the human papillomavirus (HPV), a widespread sexually transmitted infection, has sparked anal cancer, pre-cancerous cell growth, or lesions on the tissue of the anus that make you more vulnerable to HIV and other STIs. Unlike HIV, which is transmitted through bodily fluids, HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, so using condoms is only partially successful in preventing transmission. HPV may be symptomless. Factors that increase the risk of anal cancer include multiple sex partners or use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Being HIV-positive increases the risk of HPV infection and vice versa. According to the Cancer Network, 95 percent of HIV-positive men who have sex with men already have anal HPV, as do approximately 65 percent of HIV-negative gay and bisexual men. (Note: There is now a vaccine for HPV available.)
An anal pap smear can detect HPV. HPV can lead to anal cancer and anal lesions that leave a person more vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted illnesses, so early detection is super important.
People who bottom during anal sex are actually more vulnerable to HPV, so if you engage in receptive anal sex, you should definitely get an anal pap smear every few years.
Even women who engage in receptive anal sex should be getting a regular anal pap smear.
As the Advocate story notes, “Standards haven’t been well established. But the recommendation is that all who practice anal sex, especially those who are living with HIV or HPV, be tested every one to three years.”
(Header image via Pixabay)