Harassed about smears: Hello community, I... - Healthy Evidence

Healthy Evidence

3,004 members389 posts

Harassed about smears

Mmas profile image

Hello community,

I come from outside the Uk. I do not understand why whenever I go to see a GP I get asked about smears tests, even though I go in with a different problem. Out of 10 minutes'/appointment, we waste time talking about it This is an unacceptable practice to me. It says on my records never sexually active but I will still be asked by various members of staff to explain myself. How can you test virgins? Asking me in spite of these is sexual harassment as well as it would qualify as sexual assault to me if someone wanted to perform it on me. Why do the staff have the indecency even to ask me or suggest I might be lying to them?

30 Replies

Being a virgin doesn't preclude getting cervical cancer although the risk is very much lower. So you could still have the test if you wish, and it seems reasonable for it be offered given the benefits of early detection.

Of course you can decline the offer and it would be a criminal act for a medical professional to attempt such an examination against your will. If you are feeling vulnerable during a GP appointment, perhaps you could ask for a chaperone, or have a friend or family member accompany you.

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to benwl

However, I do not think it reasonable that it is offered to me regardless. My first experience should be with a guy and not with a speculum. I would feel violated and consider this a rape. And in front of a.family member!!!And I would he traumatised. This damage outweighs benefits. I have been examined by a gyno before and they did not go inside my vagina, they did it differently. Not once did they suggest s smear or using speculum in my countey/given my circumstances. It is just in this country. I suspect it is not just my health but something else. By the way I do not think we are told the she truth about these tests... Disgusted by the NHS!!!

piglette profile image
piglette in reply to Mmas

Acting as Devil's Advocate, in all fairness the NHS are attempting to offer a free service that could possibly save you from a very nasty illness and even your life. Virgins can get some forms of cervical cancer. I am not sure how polite they were, but if they did not offer it to people, how would people know about the service?

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to piglette

But is being a virgin good enough reasn not to ask at all, morally speaking? I do not understand why other countries are not so particular about these issues... What about other health issues and other types of cancer? Given my medical history I may be more susceptible to other types of cancer. Why is no one drawing attention to them? Or heart disease? Offering the test at the start of an appointment, is like trying to sell something on the phone to regardless who. When I complain about current health issues, I feel like I am a wimp and am told to go privately. In my country I would have been referred to and on the books with specialists. Why this discrepancy? Am more likely to develop other stuff that might be deadly, potentially. Why is it just my cervix that is getting such an attention? Is it not weird???

piglette profile image
piglette in reply to Mmas

UK has invested in a screening programme for both cervical and breast cancer. We are extremely lucky that this is available for free for all. Some countries have not invested in this type of prevention. We also have various vaccination and immunisation programmes for people. This is across the board to try and prevent illnesses and keep the population healthy. Cost will prohibit screening for every sort of cancer, heart disease etc.

I cannot understand why anyone would complain about being offered this sort of check, particularly as there is no charge. As benwl says you can always refuse.

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to piglette

It does not mean that there will be no ethics when offering them. Having your targets, does not seem to make them optional. On the contrary it is enforced. Why would someone decline as I said because of circumstances, have reservations about the reliability, risks and over treatment which does get not mentioned at all.

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to piglette

It is not offered but you are harassed about it, saying once no is no answer to them.

Clutter profile image
Clutter in reply to Mmas


Write to the practice manager and ask that a note is made that you do not wish to access the cervical smear testing offered and do not wish it to be offered to you again as you are feeling harassed about it.

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to Clutter

Great idea.

Particularly the Brest scan it's been known since it's conseption that it might give you cancer.

As for the vaccine for cancer for young adults they realise there is a problem there.

Exposure to radiation and infection is the main cause of cancer.

The NHS higherarkey discurrages discussion about environmentalissues being the cause of illness. If that is the case the doctor will not support you.

They would give you tests rather than change your environment.

Thank you for the suggestion to take someone with me. It sounds reasonable.

You should also be able to make an appointment with a specific doctor if you wish - perhaps you can find one who is more sensitive to this sort of issue.

Dottie, are you from the UK? They do things very differently in my country.

Dottie, do you have a Dr who is liberal then? Or did you opt out?

Oh, I see. I might consider doing that as well. I am just fed up. Been on one occasion asked by a nurse doing an asthma test, if I would ever have sex and if would not like it!!!!!!!!

Sorry to say that's the way they work here. They assume you are of a certain age. Your word is not good enough. It's sometimes called the nanny state. It also leaves it open for them to make lies up about you too.

Other doctors then believe those lies. If they refuse to except even bonifided tests. I had 3 positive tests for Lyme Disease.

The lab was closed for faulty testing in 2012. Yet they refused to believe my CE and FDA approved test.

I wrote to various NHS Hospitals that my private lyme Disease doctor tried to admit me.

Even though the lab was closed they refused to believe me. I invited them to meetings they refused to come.

They continued to believe a lie.

The Department of Health said new guidelines would be developed next year.

They have known there is a Lyme epidemic since 1980.

The DoH refuse to reply to any futher emails.

I asked my doctors if they would tell the local council I have Lyme as it's a statutory notifiable illness they refuse because no one else has Lyme disease. (Or so they say)

I have been made out a lier by the a judge he refused to read my notes. I gave my doctor an extract from Public Health eng saying private ( CE FDA and NHS)

Tests are excepted. And are a notifiable illness by 2010 they become a statutory notification.

Local council health authorities need to be notified.

Like the London Fire 🔥 when the tower block burnt down. Dispite being warned none of the parties knew how to treat long term problems.

Their answer was to wait and see. And ignore not only me but many others. 45,000 is under estimating the true numbers the DoH says 2 to 3,000.

Public Health Eng know NHS doctors have not been notifying them. I would guess from Animal Public Health Eng and now the Vets at Bristol university have done a national survey of dogs.


Unfortunately, you can develop all sorts of illnesses in the female reproductive system without ever having intercourse, cancer not being the only issue.

I understand that you are still a virgin - good on you for waiting for the right person btw - however, you need to ensure you take care of your body inside and out. Missed periods, Endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids and ovarian cysts can cause internal problems which need to be monitored and you don't need to have intercourse in order to have these issues. In fact a friend of mine had cancerous cells in her cervix despite being a virgin at 20.

You can have a nurse do the test and you can take a trusted friend or have a chaperone.

But, please, don't be under the assumption that being a virgin will protect you from gynecological conditions!

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to FlissFloss


Thank you for your reply.

Any part of the body can malfunction including the female reproductive problem. I have had issues before (as I explained in the post above). However, more common issues are not the same as cancer. The particular type of cancer we are talking about is believed to be spread via sexual intercourse, 99% of it . The rest of it caused by something else, unrelated to sexual intercourse. We further know that the test only picks up a certain type of cancer, other types of cancer are not detected via the test or if it is located outside the main location. Your lifetime chances of getting cc are 1% if you are a sexually active woman (and have risk factors). I do not fall into the first category (or a category of a high risk woman with several sexual partner over her lifetime and early first sexual intercourse), comparing me to them is close to an insult to my life. I do not also have a high risk factors such as smoking. So if the chances are 1% for an average woman, what are they for a virgin? 0.65% or less? What value is the test going to have? Why test virgins for something so rare? Is there no medical ethics in this country? In my country they still exist.

The thing that gets me the most is that the number of women with abnormalities detected is 270.000, out of whose 170.000 will have biopsies done and further tens of thousands treatment to their cervix. The mortality has never been that high, 6.000 a year, potentially? I have a high chance of having my cervix damaged by the treatment than have any benefit from the testing, especially as a virgin.

I cannot comment on your friend's case. There is a difference between precancerous cells and cancerous cells. In some countries women may get tested from the age of 30 such as Finland, younger women do not get tested at all.

benwl profile image
benwl in reply to Mmas

If you look at the UK guidelines for cervical screening here:


it does say that "Women who are virgins — may choose not to have cervical screening, as their risk of cervical cancer is low." so this hardly seems like a lack of medical ethics.

And recommended starting age of testing is 25, which isn't that far from the Finnish case you mention.

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to benwl


To clarify it - I am late 30s.

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to benwl

I am aware of that. Do you know that they will ask at every appointment, though? You might have never seen the doctor before but he starts the conversation by saying so never sexually active. Not hello, how are you? I would understand if I was complaining about a gyno problem but a rash on my back....This is a lack of ethics. Cant they be professional? Why do I have to declare myself every time? I avoid going to the doctors now altogether.

They offer to those who it is inappropriate and others over a certain age ignore even with a cancer scare knowing it is on both sides of your family .Even though you have had a cardiac arrest because of this health stress where they are directed to discriminate .Outrageous !How reasonable is this? I thought there was supposed to be a NHS Constitution !

in the UK they sweetly tell you that you can opt out of of these screening programmes, but they make it so difficult and even after opting out you are still harrased. I myself because I refused to have these tests and also being an extreme needlephobe refused to have blood tests I was de registered and left without a gp. Would it be more contusive to have an opt in register rather than opt out. I have put in complaints with PALS, obudsman etc, no reply it feels like because we are women we are nothing but ticking vaginal timebombs. On pro smear wensites I have been verbally abused, one woman told me that I should have councelling as I was mentally unstable as I refuse to smear.

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to beeme

Beeme, thank you for your response. My struggle with the Screening Programme continues as a sexually active woman now, having opted out last year. I entirely agree with you that the opt out is not respected by doctors (majority of them). I have also made several complaints to my surgery about being offered the test as an opt out woman, Ombudsman etc, with the same result . According to the Ombudsman the Screening Programme and the GP concerned have every right to ask me no matter how distressed I feel, no matter if I am screaming etc because according to the Ombudsman, there is no harm in being asked about something that might be in my best interest. And what is more asking does not equal being forced to have the test against my will. So outrageous!

You're right it is sexual harassment and it none of their business as to whether you are sexually active or not and you certainly don't have to explain you self. I suggest you go and seek legal advice about the matter and find out on how to complain about them.

Believe me I am trying every avenue about this but seem to hit a brick wall every time. This morning I even went to the Human rights site and put my views across and told them, but they told me unless I was trangender, ethnic etc they could not help even though in the uk everyone has the human right to medical care and to have it taken away forced into looking to get another gp who will not accept you unless you agree to these intrusive exams . seems we have no rights at all.

Tab cat , I agree with you 100% it is none of thier business I do not appreciate having to visit a GP for say an earache and being asked about my sex life , if I had the money I would def sue them (maybe if I win the lottery).

Mmas profile image
Mmas in reply to beeme

Beeme, not knowing the detailed circumstances of your removal from the list, deregistering a patient due to refusing to have a smear test is not one the reasons they are allowed to take you off their list. If this has indeed been the case, I would make an official complaint to your local NHS.


you know that, I know that everyone execpt the surgeries. I have complaints with nhs obudsman at the moment, but they cannot move foreward without a final response letter from the GP practice which is not forthcoming to say the least. Healthwatch are about as useful as a chocolate fireguard , the local patient liason services just do not reply to anything , the GMC are in the surgery pockets, only leaving a private court case to start but that requires cash (bankloads) which the majority of us do not have. In the UK they can de register you for anything but to cover thier backs they use the old adage of "relationship breakdown" so if you have the audacity to say no or even dare to argue with them you are OUT.

Beeme have you got an email address I could contact you on privately?

sure bumbellydraws@yahoo.com.

Had to laugh this morning though, was watching a programme whilst tidying up my lounge, man had prostate problem and needed an operation to remove part of it using same method as letts. Guy was given an epidural so had no pain etc woman nahhhhhhhhhhhhh open wide shove it in and sizzle away no pain releif needed you are a woman.

You may also like...