Week of:
Jan 12, 2018

HPV vaccine for genital warts and cervical cancer

Dear Alice,

I recently began hearing rumors about an HPV vaccine in the works. Do you know anything about the HPV vaccines being tested and when they might be available? Also, will the vaccines cure HPV or just prevent it? Thanks in advance.


Too old for HPV vaccine – am I at risk?

Dear Alice,

I am 28 years old, and became sexually active two years ago. My husband is the only man I've ever had sex with, and I am his only sexual partner as well. Where does the gene or whatever it is that the HPV vaccine helps guard against come from? Because I'm too old to get the vaccine, are my chances of getting cervical cancer from this particular gene increased then? Thank you for your help.

Less painful Pap smears?

Dear Alice,

I am a lesbian who does not enjoy penetration and does not include this in my sexual repertoire. I am concerned, however, about Pap smears. I find the speculum very uncomfortable, even painful — my last Pap was agonizing and embarrassing. If I didn't know how important this annual exam was, I would just stop going.

I am seeking ways to make this experience less traumatic, so my question to you is, is there a way I can obtain a speculum of my own so I can practice at home? Any other advice on the subject of less painful Paps would be appreciated!


— Desperately Seeking Speculum