3,200 women and people with cervixes are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK

900 of those people don’t survive. It’s time to #EndSmearFear.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is partnering with Twitter to launch the #EndSmearFear campaign.

#EndSmearFear encourages users to feel comfortable discussing topics such as vaginas, cervixes and smear tests on the platform, including sharing tips, support and information on the test.

Conversation around smear tests, vaginas and sexual health on Twitter have risen 50% since 2017,  demonstrating that people are feeling more comfortable discussing these issues than ever before, but much more can still be done.

More than 3,200 women, trans men and non-binary people with cervixes are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK and nearly 900 don’t survive.  As well as this, attendance of smear tests (despite being the most effective protection against the disease) is falling.

One in three young women and people with cervixes are not choosing to take the test when invited.

Smear tests can be difficult due to a range of different, and often complex, factors. This can include embarrassment, fear and not understanding what the test is for. According to the LGBT Foundation, 17.8% of LGB women have not been to their smear test with lots of myths and stigma that needs to be overcome.

The #EndSmearFear campaign, which has already received lots of support from celebrities and politicians, aims to normalise chat about smear tests, cervixes and vaginas on the social media platform through a light-hearted search for the best emoji for female genitalia.

One Twitter user said, “The idea of getting a smear as a Trans man triggered my dysphoria to the point I almost didn’t go. But the nurse was respectful, understood the challenges, and was kind. #EndSmearFear”

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Celebs backing the campaign include Louise Redknapp, Scarlett Moffatt, Charlotte Crosby, Chloe Delevingne, Vicky Pattinson, Chloe Sims and lots more.

Kate Sanger, Head of Communications at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “We want to help reduce some of the fear and uncertainty around smear tests and have seen first-hand the power of social media in doing this. We’re pleased to be working with Twitter to see smear tests, cervixes and vaginas talked about as normally as using an emoji. By encouraging positive conversations we hope more people will feel comfortable asking questions, know where to find support and feel able to book a test if they choose to do so.”

Katy Minshall, Head of Public Policy at Twitter UK said, “With a third of women aged 25-29 not attending the test, we want people to feel safe and supported when talking about smear tests on Twitter. Emojis are a core part of Twitter conversation and we want to break down some of the uncertainty and fear about smear tests, and talking about them, with this simple, light-hearted campaign.”

Anyone with a cervix is eligible for a smear test aged 25 to 49 every three years and aged 50 to 64 every 5 years. The #EndSmearFear campaign is live from 16 September 2019.

Please see here for more information: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/endsmearfear