This site is designed to educate Latinas about the Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) called HPV, short for Human Papilloma Virus. Understanding HPV is important as it is the most common STI, infecting between 50-75% of sexually-active adults during their lifetimes. It is also the primary cause of cervical cancer in women. There is currently no cure for HPV; however, there are effective methods of prevention and detection available that can protect your health.
How are Latinas affected by HPV?
The truth is that Latinas are especially vulnerable to HPV infection and its consequences. They have the highest rate of HPV-caused cervical cancer (nearly twice as high as non-Latinas). Also, their mortality rate from cervical cancer (the proportion of those with cervical cancer who die from it) is second only to African-American women.
Why is this the case for Latinas?
There are several factors that help to explain why this is happening:
- Latinos in general are less likely to have health insurance, making it more difficult to receive regular healthcare and preventative screenings.
- Some Latinas may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable with the vaginal exam, and so might avoid it altogether.
- Latinas (adults and teens) are less likely to have received a formal sexual education course, and so may be lacking in knowledge of STIs and practicing safe sex.
- On average, teenage Latinas are having sex at younger ages than White or African-American teenage girls. They are also more likely to have unprotected sex.
All of these issues are contributing to a serious HPV problem among Latinas. One of the most effective ways of fighting back is to educate Latinas about HPV so that they can take steps to protect themselves.
Click here to learn more about HPV.