I could have died of cancer at age 15.
I was irresponsible. I had unprotected sex. Luckily, I also had a mom who cared. I had a good enough relationship with my mom to tell her when I became sexually active. Of course, she wasn’t happy about it, but she did what she could to better the situation. She bought me condoms, which I used every time but once. That once was a very bad time.
She also started taking me to see the gynecologist. When I was 15, I had an irregular pap smear. After doing a biopsy of my cervix (the most painful thing that I’ve felt up until giving birth) they said it was “pre-cancerous.” I was one of the lucky ones. I had a LEAP and moved forward with my life.
I haven’t had an irregular pap smear since my surgery. When you have a LEAP, they go in an cut off part of your cervix. This can lead to problems with pregnancy and preterm labor. I was lucky enough to not have this, though I had some close calls.
In Utah especially, we have a problem with young, sexually active girls not going in to get pap smears and tests for sexually transmitted infections. We are an abstinence only state, which means we aren’t taught how to prevent pregnancy and STI’s, just that if we don’t have sex then we won’t have to worry about it. What about the ones that DO have sex? You know at least some won’t listen to you. Is it worth it to let those who don’t chose your ways suffer?