NYC Politician Announces On Twitter That She Has “High Risk HPV”
Melissa Mark-Viverito made an unusual admission for a politician on Sunday night: New York City’s City Council Speaker announced to her followers on Twitter that she has high risk HPV.
Mark-Viverito shared how the common STI she has can potentially lead to cervical cancer and that she is having a biopsy on Tuesday. She tweeted:
Our health should never be compromised. Annual physicals have to be sacred. Yet our health care system doesn’t lend itself to this for many. — Melissa MarkViverito (@MMViverito) August 18, 2014
HPV, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, is the most common STI. It is passed through vaginal, anal or oral sex and pretty much everyone has it at some point in their lives. While HPV often doesn’t cause any health problems, some strains of it can lead to cervical cancer, genital warts, and other cancers. According to the CDC, over 10,000 women in the U.S. get cervical cancer each year.
I commend Mark-Viverito for coming forward about her STI and the steps she’s taking to get tested for cancer. Hopefully she can put a human face to the issue and reduce stigma about sexually transmitted infections — see, even city council speakers get STIs! Some might consider it career suicide to share such information with the entire city. But she is boldly putting herself out there, both as a woman and a Latina, and it makes me proud she’s a New Yorker.
[Images via Getty and Twitter]