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HPV Toolkit: Taking Care of Yourself

Sometimes as a young adult with a busy life, it is easy to forget your health in the midst of all your other responsibilities. Relationships can cut into personal time too, and you may be left feeling like you are giving to everyone else, but don’t have time to take care of yourself. Keep in mind that the best way to be a good mate, friend, sister, daughter, employee, etc… is to prioritize your health and your well-being. When you are rested and healthy, your other "roles" are less stressful and you are better able to build quality relationships. Here are some things to keep in mind when taking care of yourself:

  • Annual Check Ups - It is a good idea to get an annual "check-up" that includes a pap smear (keep in mind that all pelvic examinations are not "pap smears"- you may want to clarify this with your practitioner)
  • Boundaries in Relationships - People that care about you will not expect you to put them ahead of your health. If you feel pressured in relationships, you may want to take a step back and re-evaluate whether such a relationship is what you want for yourself. This is particularly true if you feel that your partner is not willing to follow through on measures to protect you from STDs/pregnancy, etc.
  • Be Pro-Active about your Health - It is a good idea to educate yourself about health and not depend totally on your health care provider. It is easy to assume that they are being thorough, and they probably are, but you need to come to the appointment as an equal part of the "team"- not a passive observer. It is okay to ask your doctor questions and to postpone any test or treatment that you don’t feel you understand well enough to consent to.