Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cause & Effect: Charm 4 Life

Jewelry designer Carolyn Rafaelian of Alex and Ani has decided to join forces with Merck & Co. to raise awareness about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. Rafaelian has created a stylish set of bangles that you can purchase to show your support and also bring consciousness to these two diseases that are very much intertwined. The facts are that there are over one hundred different strains of HPV and 30 of those strains, if undetected can lead to Cervical Cancer because they can affect the genital area of the body. There are other strains that can cause genital warts but all strains can cause abnormal Pap-Smear tests in women and lead to sterilization in men.

For the most part the human immune system is enough to clear most strains of HPV. However for some people not all strains can be cleared from the body and it's that cause that can lead to cervical cancer in women. As I've said before, HPV can be contracted from men and women alike. All you need is contact with the infected area and you could be at risk too. I want to make this plain, sexual intercourse is NOT needed. What makes this worse is many people do not show symptoms of contracting HPV and it can go undetected for very long periods of time.

In 2000, approximately 9.2 million adults ranging from 15-24 years of age had genital HPV. Every year about 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States and of that 10,000 about 3,700 die annually. But this doesn't have to be. Please be educated about your sexual partner(s), don't be afraid to ask their history, its YOUR life and no one else is going to guard it as well as you. No one will protect you except for you. If you have a regular gynecologist please do not hesitate to ask them information about this disease.

The Charm 4 Life Bracelets are featured in this month's Vogue Magazine on pages 475-476. If you would like more information you can visit http://www.charm4life.com/ to purchase the limited edition bangles from Alex and Ani. They are fairly inexpensive ($32) and a portion of the proceeds go to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The bracelets are limited edition and come in two finishes, Ani's Russian Gold finish and Russian Silver finish. If you would like more information you may contact me directly at charitable.life@yahoo.com Remember, without education there is ignorance and ignorance leads to the death of man.

Lexie H