New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito took to social media on Sunday to disclose she was diagnosed with a high-risk sexually transmitted disease that sometimes leads to cancer. Credit: William Alatriste/NYC Council
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito took to social media on Sunday evening to disclose she was diagnosed with a high-risk sexually transmitted disease that sometimes leads to cancer.
Mark-Viverito, 45, prefaced her disclosure on Twitter by admitting to being a private person.
"But this position has led me to understand I now have a bigger responsibility," she added.
"#Biopsy needed #ASAP," she then tweeted.
The East Harlem leader said she underwent a gynecological exam on Friday, after which she tested positive for high-risk human papillomaviruses, or HPV, a common sexually transmitted disease.
At recent #GYN visit alarmed to find out last one, 2yrs ago. Friday got call re: results. Told have "high risk HPV". #Biopsy needed #ASAP.
"Our health should never be compromised," she tweeted. "Annual physicals have to be sacred. Yet our health care system doesn't lend itself to this for many."
According to the city's Health Department, about 79 million Americans have HPV infection, with most people not displaying any symptoms. HPV infections are thought to cause about 17,000 in women, mostly but not limited to cervical.
While there is no treatment for HPV, vaccines are available. Last week, the Health Department launched a ad campaign promoting the vaccines for young New Yorkers before any type of sexual activity.
The speaker's message struck a chord with number of Twitter users, both in and outside the political realm.
Bravo for sharing @MMViverito . Most adults get HPV along the way. Women 21-65, get screened. All children should get vaccinated.