While the thoughts of being walled off in a convent may not seem appealing to you, being a nun certainly has it’s upsides.

Not having to deal with spouses and kids may be one upside of being a nun- depending on how you see it but just in case my husband or God forbid, my kids read this article; I love you guys and would never ever trade you for a habit!

So let’s get back to the issue of what nuns would not have worry about;

Nuns, HPV, & Cervical Cancer

Nuns who started out as virgins and have kept their vows to celibacy do not have to worry about contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV) ever!

While there are hundreds of strains of this virus, a small subset of the human papilloma virus (HPV) cause cervical and anal cancer.  As far as we know, HPV is the sole cause of cervical cancer. HPV may also cause some types of head and neck cancer.

The virus is sexually transmitted and since it is a virus and not a bacterium, antibiotics do not work for HPV. A healthy immune system is what’s needed to clear the virus.

Smokers or women older than 29 are slower to clear the dangerous strains of the virus and run the risk of developing cervical cancer if not monitored and treated. The whole reason for getting your pap smear done is to prevent cervical cancer.

We now get to test for the human papilloma virus directly alongside the pap smear thereby closely monitoring women who test positive for the virus before cancerous changes show up on the pap smear years later.

Nuns have it made in terms of cervical cancer but for the rest of us mature non-virgins, there is the pap smear and HPV testing. If you are 26 of younger, there’s also the HPV vaccine.

About the author

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Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.

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