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A recent study in Georgia found that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to die of cervical cancer than white women. Similar studies conducted 10 years ago reached the same conclusions.

40 percent of Black women diagnosed with cervical cancer every year will die.

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is a sexually transmitted virus that is the main cause of cervical cancer.

Black women continue to lead in the category of high-risk HPV infections. According to Blackdoctor.org, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to test positive for high-risk HPV infections. Also, 56 percent of Black women were still infected 2 years after they were diagnosed.

HPV infection in women clears up on its own. But research has found that Black women have a hard time clearing up HPV infections.

The reasons for the high HPV infection rate among Black women vary from socioeconomic, fear of doctors, a lack of education, no transportation, a lack of nearby clinics and doctors, and a lack of awareness about the HPV vaccine.

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Lesbians have a high prevalence of cervical cancer because of risk factors, such as obesity, smoking, and delay in getting Pap smears and pelvic examinations as recommended.

Cervical cancer is a preventable disease if detected early. Pap smears can often detect early changes in cervical cells that are a precursor to cancer.

According to WSB-TV, some Black women don't know there is a vaccine that can prevent HPV.

The Georgia study recommended that the state expand insurance access, fund programs to prevent and treat cervical cancer, and encourage women to get the HPV vaccine.




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Ciara urged Black women to get regular cervical cancer screenings as she notes that Black women are "twice as likely to die from cervical cancer than white women."

In an op-ed for NBC at the start of Black History Month, Ciara wrote that Black women should get regular PAP smear screenings as part of "self-care".

She wrote that Black women are twice as likely to die from cervical cancer than white women," and it's "not because of biology."

The 36-year-old mother-of-three blamed "health disparities" and "systemic racism" for higher cervical cancer rates among Black women.

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"It's because of health care disparities, systemic racism and long-held inequities," she wrote, adding, "This must change."

Ciara said Black women should prioritize our own health care since we are invisible to the medical establishment.

She revealed that a member of her team received a cervical cancer diagnosis. Her friend's diagnosis hit home for her.

"The good news is that she prioritized her self-care and got screened," Ciara wrote, before adding, "The even better news is that because of early detection, her cancer was treatable, and today she is thriving."

The part-time singer and homemaker continued:

"As we conclude Cervical Health Awareness Month and enter Black History Month, we should use this moment to prioritize our self-care by taking action to protect our health and encouraging others to do the same."

Doctors recommend Pap smears along with a pelvic exam beginning at age 21 then every three years until age 65.

A Pap smear combined with HPV testing can be performed every five years for women age 30 and older.

Doctors recommend more frequent Pap smears, regardless of age, if you have the following risk factors:

  • A diagnosis of cervical cancer or precancerous cervical cells
  • Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth
  • HIV infection
  • Weakened immune system
  • History of smoking

Women who had a total hysterectomy or women older than 65 with previously negative Pap tests can consider stopping Pap screening.

Consult with your doctor to determine the option that is best for you.

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Some people take orgasms for granted, but researchers say experiencing the big O has more benefits than just enhancing your pleasure.

Women who experience daily orgasms know that the big O comes with health benefits such as sleep aid and pain relief.

"Some people orgasm multiple times, some once, and some none, and that's all totally normal," says Rosara Torrisi.

Torrisi, a certified sex therapist and founding director of the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy, tells Health.com that orgasms, particularly masturbating, can reveal what's normal and abnormal about your sexual health.

"It's one of the few times people, especially people with vulvas, give themselves permission to touch their genitals," Torrisi says.

The following are seven health benefits of orgasms.
 

1. Mood enhancer

Orgasms release a flood of feel-good hormones that help you calm down and relieve stress, Kate White, MD, MPH, tells Health.

According to Dr. White, these hormones include:

  • Oxytocin, aka the "love hormone," which also aids with baby bonding.
  • Dopamine, released by the reward and pleasure centers of the brain.
  • Endorphins, the "natural opiates" that induce a sense of euphoria and reduce stress.
  • Serotonin, which helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep.
  • Prolactin, that initiates milk production after pregnancy and plays a role in bonding.

 

2. Orgasm helps you connect with your body

Touching yourself helps to reveal body changes that you may not know about, such as yeast infections or lesions on your genitals. "It is really helpful to know what your body feels like, looks like, and even smells like," Logan Levkoff, PhD, tells Health, "because if you don't know what the norm is for your body, it's really difficult to identify when something is off."
 

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3. Self love teaches you what feels good for you

Most women can reach intense orgasms by themselves -- without the help of a partner. Some women are okay with that because they know what feels good for them.

"A lot of people want to have orgasms consistently from penetration, and the truth is that some people can come consistently from that, but most people can't," Dr. White tells Health.com.

Dr. Levkoff says self-pleasuring without a partner can be empowering. "Know that you don't have to rely on someone else to make you a sexual being or to make you feel a certain way."
 

4. Orgasm strengthens relationships

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Beyond having a relationship with yourself, orgasms can bond you tighter with your mate - who you don't have to depend on for pleasure.
 

5. Orgasm improves sleep

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Everyone knows orgasms improves sleep. This is achieved through sex hormones that are released in abundance before, during, and after the big O.

In edition to hormones, the muscles relaxing after the big O is similar to muscle relaxation techniques.

"Some people also build a habit of orgasming before bed, so it's a part of their sleep routine," Torrisi explains.
 

6. Orgasm maintains pelvic floor muscles

Frequent orgasms can be as beneficial as cardio exercises. An orgasm is a series of muscle contractions, that maintain or strengthen your pelvic floor, says Levkoff.
 

7. Orgasm relieves pain

Orgasm-induced hormones like oxytocin and endorphins act as natural painkillers, says Dr. White.

"Those pleasurable feelings tend to dull feelings of pain," Levkoff says, noting this may be why some people find that orgasms relieve menstrual cramps.

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More women are reporting side effects to the vaccine than men, according to a website that records side effects and deaths.

79% of women reported side effects in the first 13.7 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered to Americans this year.

An infectious disease specialist says there may be a biological reason for the disparity in side effects to the vaccine.

"We know that with vaccinations and infections, women tend to have a stronger immune response than men," Dr. Simone Wildes, a Boston-based infectious disease specialist, told "Good Morning America." "That's really driven by biological differences in males and females and the sex hormones."

Wildes explained that men and women experience different side effects because the vaccines tells the body to make foreign proteins.

"When we get the Covid vaccine, we are introducing proteins into our body that are foreign and we're teaching the cells to make the antibodies and the T-cells to help to fight the infection in case we're exposed to it," she said. "What happens in the female body is those cells create more protein than the male cells would."

She added: "When females get the vaccine, we're going to complain of more side effects because our immune system is more revved up," Wildes explained. "We are able to produce more of the antibodies..."

Additionally, Wildes said women in general tend to complain more than men.

"Women in general just report more, so there is that difference," said Wildes. "I can’t tell you how many men I will see in the hospital who say, ‘My wife forced me to go to the hospital,' while some men will say, 'It's not a big deal.'"

So far, 38% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated. Only 14% of Black people have been vaccinated.

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About 300 women leaders and health professionals gathered in Atlanta last weekend to address the staggering numbers of Black women with HIV.

Black women leaders and medical professionals attended the Paradigm Shift 2.0: Black Women Confronting HIV, Health, and Social Justice Summit, organized by the Sankofa Collaborative at the Loudermilk Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Sankofa Collaborative lists biological Black men among the numbers of Black women with HIV, which skews the true numbers of biological Black women living with HIV.

The Sankofa Collaborative "exists to urgently address the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on Black cis and trans women and their families," said Jammie Hopkins, Ph.D., M.S., a Sankofa planning committee member.

"For too long, structural barriers, social stigma and discrimination, inequitable allocation of funding, and poorly conceived research priorities have perpetuated preventable disparities in HIV/AIDS and other crucial health conditions among Black women," Hopkins added.

In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta released astonishing data showing over 7,000 HIV diagnoses among Black women and HIV. But the statistics include biological men suffering from gender dysphoria.

Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (pictured right) spoke to summit attendees, asking them to pay more attention to voter suppression and its link to lack of health care access in Black communities.

When asked, "As we move forward, how do we exchange talk into sustainable action?" Abrams responded, "Vote!"

National civil rights leader, professor, author, and prison activist Angela Y. Davis (pictured left) also attended the summit in Atlanta.

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