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Planned Parenthood
COVID-19 has touched every part of our lives — our relationships, how we work, and how we take care of ourselves. How has COVID-19 affected your sexual and reproductive health? Whether the pandemic has changed the way you get birth control or forced you to rethink your sex life and reproductive future, your story matters.

Tell us about it here!

In This Issue:
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris + Leanna's Story +
Cervical Health Awareness
Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris
I was raised by a mother who said to me all the time, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things — make sure you're not the last.”
— Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
In just a few days, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will become the first woman vice president, the first Black vice president, and the first vice president of Indian descent (so many firsts!). Vice President-elect Harris will also be the first graduate of a historically Black college (HBCU), Howard University, to serve as vice president. Read more on what her historic win means for HBCU students.
*Content Warning: Grief and loss, racism, racial violence*

I was 12 when my 17-year-old brother died. He was not shot by police or targeted by white supremacists, but racism killed him. Richard had bipolar disorder, and our family relied on Medicaid for health care. After a brief stay in one of very few mental health facilities that accepted Medicaid in Chicago, he became extremely ill with a high fever and trouble breathing. We took him to the hospital, where he was not tested or x-rayed.

Instead, he was given an inhaler and told to take ibuprofen. When his condition worsened, we went back to the ER, where staff diagnosed him with pneumonia in both lungs. He was admitted to the ICU and put on a ventilator. Five days later, as my mother and I finally took a break from living in the ICU to shower and change clothes at home, Richard died.

It is not a question to me whether Richard would have received better care if he wasn't Black. There is a straight line from his Blackness to the health care options available to him to his treatment to his death.

Racism is a public health crisis. It manifests in dramatic inequities in health outcomes across the board — including three times the rate of COVID-19 infections among Black people and more than twice the rate of deaths as white people. It manifests in the daily grind of discrimination and stress on Black bodies. It manifests in where we live, the health care available to us, and how we are treated. It manifests in which mothers must mourn sons who died too early, which sisters grow up without brothers.

Leanna at Planned Parenthood
Leanna is a media assistant at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was born and raised in Chicago and studied journalism at City University of New York — Brooklyn College. She is also a musician and freelance writer who is focused on amplifying the voices of people in underserved communities.
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Did You Know? Hispanic women are 40% more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer than non-Hispanic white women.
Systemic racism and other barriers that make it hard to access health care have led to wildly disproportionate rates of cervical cancer among Latinas. Everyone deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care. We must work to eliminate racial injustice and remove the unfair barriers to care that Latinas face.

Anyone with a cervix can get cervical cancer, but it can be prevented with education and prevention. Chat with a health educator or book a cervical health screening at your local Planned Parenthood health center now.
"I have high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and I'm really scared to pass this on. How can I keep myself and my potential partners safe?"
It's great that you're thinking about how to keep you and potential partners safe. Your high-risk HPV status means you have a higher chance of passing on the virus. HPV is the most common STD — it's easily spread from sexual skin-to-skin contact. You get it when your vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, or anus touches someone else's genitals or mouth and throat — usually during sex.

HPV can be spread even if no one cums, and even if a penis doesn't go inside the vagina/anus/mouth. There's no cure for HPV, but there are things you can do to make sex safer, like using condoms and/or dental dams each time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Condoms and dental dams aren't as effective against HPV as they are against other STDs like chlamydia and HIV, but practicing safer sex can lower your chances of spreading HPV.

You can also speak to your partner about getting the HPV vaccine — it can protect them against certain types of HPV that can lead to cancer or genital warts.

— Attia @ Planned Parenthood
What we're reading:
+ Give the Students a Round of Applause
+ Planned Parenthood's Alexis McGill Johnson On What She's Fighting For In 2021
+ The 10 Best Period Tracking Apps to Try in 2021
+ Does Having an IUD Make You a Biohacker or a Cyborg?
TBH (To Be Honest) is a monthly newsletter dedicated to learning about our bodies, talking about sex and relationships, and challenging health inequity and injustice. Send us your feedback.

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