What exactly is a Pap smear? And does it hurt (because I heard it does)?...
The National Institutes of Health has recently launched a Vulvodynia awareness campaign aimed at advocacy groups, health care providers and research organizations. It's better late than never -- as is, women must see an average of 4-5 health-care providers before they receive an actual diagnosis due the ignorance of the condition in the medical field. A good majority of gynecologists, who specialize in women's health, often misdiagnose or shrug off the condition, as do the dermatologists, psychologists, and sex therapists patients are referred to out of desperation.
The vaccine, Gardisil, is only approved for women and girls right now but its maker (Merck) is looking into its use in boys and men. Hopefully it will be available to males soon since they can also be infected and transmit the virus to their partners. A few things have to be cleared up yet, such as at what age girls should be vaccinated and if pediatricions should include it in their vaccination schedules. The CDC makes its reccomendations June 29th.
Today, a Scarleteen user (thanks, puppysrcute!) posted the following at the boards: What do you think about this?
To which, I replied: That, in general, we don't have the long-term, solid data to have any idea if this is wise or damaging to women, and until we do, I'm not (and Scarleteen by association) going to endorse it, even as an option for women who do simply want to choose it as preference, not as doctrine or by pressure to do so.
We've had more than one cosmetic surgeon post on the Scarleteen boards endorsing labiaplasty or "vaginal rejuvenation" to the young women who read the site.