Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Increased cervical cancer prevention is on its way

Clinicians diagnose cervical cancer in more than 12,000 women in the U.S. every year, and approximately 4,000 of them die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These numbers have significantly decreased over the past 40 years due to the fact that many women receive an annual Pap smear from their primary care physician or gynecologist.

In most cases, cervical cancer is caused by HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the country. There are more than 40 different strains of it that can infect the reproductive organs and surrounding area, as well as the mouth and throat. Since it can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, it's important for sexually active individuals to faithfully take preventative measures, such as using condoms and getting screened for STIs when switching partners.

STI testing is the easiest way to catch infections and begin treatment early. Since cervical cancer can be caused by HPV, it's crucial for women to receive not only HPV screens but also Pap smears. In fact, at the end of September, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced new funding that will go toward improving the quality of care at 810 community health centers around the country and ensure that more women are tested for cervical cancer.

"Our health centers are committed to providing high quality health care services and today's awards help continue these efforts," said Sebelius.

Through these grants, the HHS hopes to screen more women and catch cervical cancer at early stages so that affected females can have the best chances of fighting the disease.