Nothing to be Ashamed Of...

Welcome guest blogger and friend, Malenis Hollaway-Nazario

On October 13, 2010, I had gone in for my yearly Pap smear a few months late. I was as carefree as ever and went in prepared for what I thought was going to be a normal pap. That all changed when I received a phone call from my doctor. My Pap results had come back abnormal and the HPV test came back positive.

I was floored; I went through all of my formers partners and started to mentally check off which ones could have possibly given “it” to me. HPV and I were not on a first name basis; I barely knew anything. So when my follow up pap results came back abnormal again, I decided to obsessively do research.

During my wait for my colposcopy, I asked my peers and students of the Community College, where I am employed, what they knew about HPV. I was completely shocked with the results. How could all these young women and men know close to nothing about HPV?

Trying to explain to my friends and family was difficult at first. I was 27, unmarried and Latina; the first thing that people think when you tell them that you have HPV is that you are “sleeping around”, you are tainted, a “sucia”.

 So, prior to discussing my situation with everyone, I decided to get facts. I was research crazed; I joined every online HPV/Cervical cancer forum and read articles and studies, I even emailed my doctor daily. I discovered I had friends who like me, were afraid of what their families would think of them. I realized that there were so many other women that were going through the same thing; I wasn’t alone.

According to my last test results, I am in CIN II (pre-cancer stage). I still need to take care of myself and go to my follow-up appointments on time, but I do not have cancer.

I wanted to share my story with you all because there are so many in the Latino community who know very little about HPV and Cervical Cancer.  Hermanas, don’t be afraid to talk! We have to educate ourselves, be aware of what’s going on and do our part as a community to raise awareness on HPV and Cervical Cancer.

My latest follow-up was this past Thursday, and I went into it with my head held high. I will not let this take me over.

"Where shame is, there is also fear. ~ John Milton

 Malenis Holloway-Nazario resides in Chicago, IL. At the age of 27 she was diagnosed with HPV and hopes to be able to share her story with others as her part in raising awareness of HPV and Cervical Cancer.

Editor's Note: I want to thank Malenis for sharing her story and showing us that there should be NO shame if you are infected by the human papilloma virus. Lets toss away the misconceptions that there is about women who have HPV.  Wishing her the very best and much health.  Gracias mi Hermana!!