Anal cancer is over 35% more prevalent in gay men – 80% more prevalent for HIV+ men – and yet the shame of talking about having a simple male pap smear exam is avoided because of the shame of having a medical conversation about our ass. It’s really ironic, since gay men – many men in general – are big ass fans. Well, it’s high-time we seriously talk ass health. Gay African-American men have the highest increase for anal cancer and the lowest survival rates for the disease. Before the medical community included female pap smears for women over 18, cervical cancer had a higher death rate as well. The pap smear exam – for both men and women – screens for the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) one of the most common STDs in the world. To set you gentlemen at ease – the exam uses an eight inch q-tip (Dacron swab) inserted only 4 inches into your anal canal to collect a swab of cells. The exam is relatively pain free. Anal cancer is highly preventable and very treatable if caught in time.
So here are the facts…
** If you are a man who has sex with men, you should have a male pap smear
** If you have a history of anal or genital warts you should have a male pap smear
** 65% of men – 95% of HIV+ men – carry HPV in their anal canals
** There are more than 100 different subtypes of HPV
** HPV Subtypes 6 & 11 cause 90 percent of genital warts
** Subtypes 16 & 18 are far more dangerous because of their precancerous potential
We’ve become a community that openly speaks about our sexual trysts and the beauty of our bodies. Let’s become a community that also talks about keeping our bodies – and those of our family and friends – healthy for years to come.
Keep passin’ the open windows…