Cervical Screening Test & Preventing STIs

Women who have sex with women are no different from other women in needing to have Cervical Screening Tests every five years. The cause of most abnormal Cervical Screening Test results is human papilloma virus (HPV) and HPV can be transmitted from one woman to another during penetrative sex. It is a myth that lesbians don’t need Cervical Screening Tests, however in Australia, young lesbians have less regular cervical screening tests than their peers.

Women who have sex with women can be infected with STIs and can infect their partner during sex. Infections include:

  • Vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) or thrush (Candida).
  • Vulval infections such as genital herpes (herpes simplex virus), and human papilloma virus (HPV).
  • Cervical and pelvic infections such as Chlamydia.
  • Blood-borne viruses such as Hepatitis B or C, syphilis or HIV – these are rarely transmitted between women.

STIs can lead to reduced fertility and abnormalities of the cervix including cancers, so preventing STIs is important. Safe sex includes preventing sharing of vaginal and cervix fluids between women, and/or using different fingers or hands for different areas during sex. Using condoms on sex toys, and using Undetected dams or avoiding oral sex when a cold sore (oral herpes) is prevent can also prevent STIs.

Testing can be arranged to detect these infections, including vulval, vaginal and cervical swabs and blood testing.

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