Tag Archive 'hbo'

May 15 2012

TV Show ‘Girls’ Adds to the Muddle on HPV Testing

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TV Show ‘Girls’ Adds to the Muddle on HPV Testing

Hannah, the spunky central character in the edgy new HBO series “Girls,” is a creative and endearingly naïve 24-year-old bumbling fearlessly through postcollege life. She works for years at an unpaid internship that never turns into a job and pretends to be far more sophisticated about sex than she actually is. She’s a loyal friend, but whatever you do, don’t ask her about human papillomavirus, or HPV. She’s clueless.

The much-discussed third episode of the series, which aired in late April, was rife with misinformation about HPV, a reflection of the real confusion felt by twentysomethings — or perhaps just by the show’s writer, Lena Dunham, who plays Hannah.

First, our hapless heroine is tested for HPV, an infection linked to cervical cancer, though what she really had been worried about was H.I.V. This is not entirely implausible; still, the test has not been approved for women under age 30. Medical guidelines strongly discourage its use in young women, as the results generally are not meaningful unless aPap smear also detects signs of abnormal cells. Continue Reading »

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