Common question. New guidelines. Let me share. . .ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology) released a position statement delaying pap screening in adolescents. A pap is now suggested at age 21 unless the patient has HIV or a weak immune system from another disease. And, HPV testing should not be done until age 21, either.
The reason for the change is that HPV is a common virus spread from sexual contact. And, adolescents get rid of their HPV virus (without extra help from physicians) 90% of the time. We now know that adolescents have been over-treated in the past which may lead to unnecessary treatments that compromise the cervix and increase a teen’s risk of having a preterm birth later in life.
I believe we-can’t-know-what-we-know-until-we-know-it. Research is continually coming out and redirecting us to better, more effective care. My job is to stay current. . . and to help educate.
Sexually active teens still need sexually transmitted disease screening yearly, but a pap can wait until age 21.