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Harvard Medical School

Elizabeth G. Stewart,  MD Harvard Medical School, Associate Prof. Obstetrics/Gyn Director. US Vulvovaginal Service, Harvard Vanguard Medical Assoc., 07 To whom it may concern: I write in support for an effort organized by Kath Mazzella to establish an (IGAD) to be held September 10 annually in the effort to raise the profile for more research and the dissemination of knowledge about the lower genital tract.

With all the current focus on Women’s Health there is omission of any effort to promote awareness of the lower genital tract and the pathology involving it that causes morbidity and sexual dysfunction for millions of women throughout the world. I wrote The V Book (Bantam 2002) in an effort to begin this awareness. I specialize full time in diseases of the lower genital tract, seeing women from all over the country who cannot find the proper care for infection, genital dermatoses and pain. I have been part of the first epidemiologic study of genital pain funded by the National Institutes of Health in which we have shown that 16% of women in the USA suffer from lower genital pain lasting three months or longer. These women have seen five clinicians without obtaining a diagnosis. (Harlow B, Stewart EG.) A population-based assessment of chronic unexplained vulvar pain: have we underestimated the prevalence of vulvodynia? J Am Med Women’s Assoc 2003; 58:82.  Gynecologic awareness must move forward.