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Jan 9, 2018

Start Your New Year in Good Health – Get Tested!

Men and women are exposed to a number of sexually transmitted diseases. This is why the checkups are recommended as often as possible. It is not costly and readily available at the Belize Family Live Association, where the range of medical services is expanding. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. 

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Over the years, the Belize Family Life Association has been providing services to Belizeans, including men, women and youths on healthy lifestyle practices; the importance of getting general checkups and visiting regularly with healthcare professionals.

 

Sharmane Garcia

Sharmane Garcia, Marketing Officer, B.F.L.A.

“Come in and do your checkup. We have a range of services from prostate exams; we do testicular checks; checks on just the normal weight, pressure and sugar. As you know there are a lot of obese people walking around and we take for granted that we are okay, and then suddenly, you have an issue where someone falls, lands in the hospital and then that’s it.”

 

B.F.L.A. recently acquired a new pathologist and has expanded its cytology services which tests for cervical cancer and other ailments. While the service is not free, the prices and packages are competitive. Marketing Officer Sharmane Garcia says that the quality of service is top notch.

 

Sharmane Garcia

“One of those services is the anal cytology. It tests for cancer; just like how we do the papsmear and that tests for cervical cancer or we do the breast exam to check that there are no lumps, we do for the anal. As long as you’re having sex in the anus, then you are at risk—whether it is a male or a female. So we now offer that service. It is just to detect if there is any cancer of pre-cancerous conditions or such. We also offer lab services such as the breast-smear. If a woman is secreting from the breast, we can now test that as well; we do the brushing and such. The specialists can now take their samples and send it to us here at B.F.L.A. and we can give them back their results.”

 

Genital wart affects both men and women and is a sexually transmitted infection that is easily contracted if there is contact with an infected person. Doctor Natalie Bruce over at the B.F.L.A./N.H.I. Clinic in Belize City says that while there is medication and other options for treatment of genital warts, Garcia says seek medical advice.

 

Sharmane Garcia

“The genital warts spread. If you have some abnormal lesion or something that looks like a wart on your genitals, please come in. We can do the testing and we can also assist in the treatment.  Depending on the person’s immune system, depending on a lot of factors, how rapid these warts would grow. There is a treatment; it is said that once it is in your bloodstream, it doesn’t go away. So even if you treat it, chances of it recurring are possible.”

 

HPV leads to genital warts, but is also a risk factor for cervical cancer. So if you detect that you have symptoms similar to that of genital warts, get your papsmears and HPV tests. Women, twenty-five years and older are encouraged to get screened early because prevention is better than cure. HIV positive patients, as well as women with a history of cancer in their family, are at higher risk and should do pap smears on a yearly basis.

 

Natalie Bruce

Dr. Natalie Bruce, Medical Officer, B.F.L.A./N.H.I. Clinic

“We obtain sample from the cervix of the patient so the patient will come in. You have to make sure that three days prior to the procedure, they haven’t had any sexual intercourse, haven’t been using an type of medication in the vaginal area and so forth. The patient will come in, we put them in a lying position, we insert the speculum and a swab is taken using a cervical brush and that is placed under a microscope and that is fixated. That is later sent off to the cytologist who does an evaluation by observing the cells under the microscope and doing a diagnosis.”

 

A fee of two dollars is charged for patients under the National Health Insurance; otherwise, they would pay sixty-five dollars for the test. Duane Moody for News Five.

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