Advocates and elected officials are cheering on the speaker of the City Council after she made the surprising revelation on Twitter Sunday night that her gynecologist told her she has "high risk HPV," or human papillomavirus. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Melissa Mark-Viverito does not like to talk about her relationship status or her private life, but on Sunday night, she made a surprising revelation via Twitter: she has been diagnosed with 'high risk HPV.'"
"Millions of women will have HPV over the course of their lifetime," said Dr. Constance Young of the Community Healthcare Network.
The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and is a leading cause of cervical cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, sexually active women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. That now includes the speaker of the City Council.
"I think it's incredibly brave," said Andrea Miller of NARAL Pro-Chouce. "This is such personal information to put out into the public, and I'm hopeful that it will be a good reminder of how important it is to get screened."
"This is something about public health, and again, something that all women are exposed to typically at some point in their lifetime," said Dr. Stacy De-Lin of Planned Parenthood of NYC.
"It certainly helps us as providers of medical care to bring the discussion about HPV and vaccinations and treatment of HPV into the public view," Young said.
The speaker was not available to go on camera, but a spokesman said Mark-Viverito made the revelation to raise awareness, encouraging women to get examined regularly or potentially get the HPV vaccine.
Her admission was immediately backed up at City Hall.
"Before this weekend, had great respect for Melissa Mark-Viverito. My respect is even greater today. She did something very brave," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"She would put something personal out there that can help everyone who may be going through similar things," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn.
Women's health care specialists that NY1 spoke to said the vast majority of HPV cases do not lead to cervical cancer. They said the body ends up fighting off the infection on its own.
As for the speaker, she is set to get additional tests on Tuesday.