While your mom may have started her Pap tests/smears at age 18, all the new recommendations — from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, among others — say you can wait till 21.
The guidelines recently changed based on several years of research on what typically causes an abnormal Pap: the Human papillomavirus (HPV). If you haven’t received the HPV vaccine or aren’t sure about it, talk to your health care provider and consider getting this series of three vaccinations, which is available at the Student Health Care Center by appointment.
The most important considerations for young women who are or who anticipate becoming sexually active are to prevent unwanted pregnancy by using reliable contraception, and to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by using condoms and/or dental (aka) oral dams. And here’s the good news: You no longer need a Pap or a gynecological examination to get birth control!
If you are sexually active — vaginally, orally and/or anally — the SHCC recommends routine screening for STIs, which can now be done with a simple urine test.
Call the Women’s Health Clinic at (352) 294-7476 for more information about any women’s health concerns or to schedule an appointment.
Information provided by Phylis Craig, ARNP, SHCC Associate Director of Nursing