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Before you slip into those stirrups, here's what you need to know and what you need to demand. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a nonprofit organization that tracks health care policy, 15.3 million STDs are contracted annually in this country. Tests for common STDs include cervical swabs for chlamydia and trichomoniasis, follow-up testing of abnormal Paps for HPV, and blood tests for herpes, HIV, and hepatitis B. According to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund, women with no insurance and those who rely on Medicaid are more likely to discuss STDs with their doctors than women who see private physicians.
Without set protocols, doctors are left to their own devices to assess which patients are at risk. Until modern medicine makes sense of the muddle, women must take charge of their own STD screening. Get tested if you've had multiple partners, sex without a condom, or a partner who may have put you at risk. Get tested before having sex with someone new instead of checking for infection after the fact.
Find out whether your health plan covers STD screening and head to a public clinic if it doesn't. Jot down questions before your appointment and review them with your doctor when you're most comfortable (sitting in an office chair instead of strapped in metal stirrups). The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for cancers and precancers in the cervix (the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina).
Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). Suddenly appearing around her vagina, they looked innocent and harmless enough: small, round, white, and soft to the touch.
Now 31 and a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, she has learned to live with the threat of recurring genital warts and with the incurable but treatable human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes them. Patients don't realize they're not getting these tests, and doctors aren't coming out and telling them.
Many insurance companies refuse to cover testing that they don't deem "medically necessary." But if an STD is asymptomatic, "necessary" becomes a slippery slope.
If they're in the Southeast, they might test for syphilis, which is more prevalent in that part of the country. Precancers are cell changes that might become cancer if they are not treated the right way. But they tingled and itched, so shortly after finding them, she shut the bedroom door of her off-campus apartment and called home hoping for help. But, like the millions of women in this country who have sexually transmitted infections-and the millions more who are at risk for them--she's still waiting for adequate and comprehensive care when it comes to her sexual health. People fail to grasp the fact that STDs are a real threat: transmitted through oral sex as well as intercourse, lurking in the systems of the mutually monogamous, and often asymptomatic or unnoticeable (which is the case with chlamydia, herpes, and HIV).
If they're examining a patient who's under 25, they may test her for chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are more common in younger women. People who have been previously tested and diagnosed for another Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). Most health insurance plans must cover Pap tests or cervical cancer screening at no cost to you.
This public information is not copyrighted and may be reproduced without permission, though citation of each source is appreciated. Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecological cancer to prevent with regular screening tests and vaccination. When her mother couldn't peg the cause of the problem, Duffy dashed to the health clinic at her East Coast college. KFF found that 40 percent of women aren't asked about their sexual histories on pre-exam questionnaires. People don't learn how to best protect themselves: condoms and dental dams are the most effective methods, followed by diaphragms, cervical caps, or spermicides.
If the cost of STD screening exceeds that limit, patients have to reach into their own pockets to pay for each $20 to $60 test. Michael Burnhill, vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. It is also very curable when found and treated early.Expand AllWhat is cervical cancer?Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus.
Experts say we could slash this expense (and eliminate untold pain and suffering) if we pledged to take one simple step: provide effective screening and treatment during medical exams.
And according to the Commonwealth Fund, 84 percent of women and 72 percent of teenage girls hadn't discussed STDs with their doctors in the year preceding the survey. According to a KFF study, 74 percent of men and 69 percent of women who are of reproductive age seriously underestimate the prevalence of STDs, guessing that one in ten Americans will become infected during his or her life.


One KFF survey found that they were even less likely to broach the topic than their patients. The tragic consequences can include premature birth, low birth weight, conjunctivitis, blindness, pneumonia, neurological problems, and congenital abnormalities.
Although one in ten seems scary, the truth is even more alarming: the real number is one in four. Cell changes can develop on the cervix that, if not found and treated, can lead to cervical cancer.
These extra cells form a tumor.Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus. Says Tina Hoff, director of public health information for KFF, "People seem to believe that it just can't happen to them. Robert Hagler, chair of the gynecological practice committee for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Cervical cancer can almost always be prevented, and having regular Pap tests is the key.A Pap test checks the cervix for abnormal cell changes. These extra cells form a tumor.Who gets cervical cancer?Each year, about 12,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Committee for Quality Assurance, and ASHA all have separate recommendations. Cervical cancer happens most often in women 30 years or older but all women are at risk.Each year, about 12,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer can almost always be prevented, and having regular Pap tests is the key.Why do I need a Pap test?A Pap test can save your life.
Cervical cancer happens most often in women 30 years or older but all women are at risk.What causes cervical cancer?Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a high-risk type of HPV.
HPV is a virus that is passed from person to person through genital contact, such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If the HPV infection does not go away on its own, it may cause cervical cancer over time.Other things may increase the risk of developing cancer following a high-risk HPV infection. Treating these abnormal cells can help prevent most cases of cervical cancer from developing. HPV is a virus that is passed from perA¬son to person through genital contact, such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Getting a Pap test is one of the best things you can do to prevent cervical cancer.A Pap test can save your life.
These symptoms may not be caused by cervical cancer, but the only way to be sure is to see your doctor.You may not notice any signs or symptoms of cervical cancer. Getting a Pap test is one of the best things you can do to prevent cervical cancer.Do all women need Pap tests?Most women ages 21 to 65 should get Pap tests as part of routine health care.
These symptoms may not be caused by cervical cancer, but the only way to be sure is to see your doctor.How do I find out if I have cervical cancer?Women should start getting screened at age 21. You can get a Pap test to look for changes in cervical cells that could become cancerA­ous if not treated.
Women who have gone through menopause (when a woman's periods stop) and are younger than 65 still need regular Pap tests.Women who do not have a cervix (usually because of a hysterectomy), and who also do not have a history of cervical cancer or abnormal Pap results, do not need Pap tests. If the Pap test finds major changes in the cells of the cervix, your doctor may suggest more tests to look for cancer. Women ages 65 and older who have had three normal Pap tests in a row and no abnormal test results in the last 10 years do not need Pap tests.Most women ages 21 to 65 should get Pap tests as part of routine health care. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 can also get an HPV test with your Pap test to see if you have HPV.Women should start getting screened at age 21.
You can get a Pap test to look for changes in cervical cells that could become cancerA¬ous if not treated. Do I still need Pap tests?It depends on the type of hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus) you had and your health history. Women who are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are at a higher risk of cervical cancer and other cervical diseases. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), women ages 30 to 65 can combine the HPV test with a Pap test every 5 years.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all HIV-positive women get an initial Pap test, and get re-tested 6 months later. If both Pap tests are normal, HIV-positive women can get yearly Pap tests in the future.It depends on your age and health history. Women who are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are at a higher risk of cervical cancer and other cerA¬vical diseases. The best time to be tested is 10 to 20 days after the first day of your period.How is a Pap test done?Your doctor can do a Pap test during a pelvic exam. Your doctor will put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina and will open it to see your cervix.


He or she will then use a special stick or brush to take a few cells from the surface of and inside the cervix. Regular Pap tests help your doctor find and treat any changing cells before they turn into cancer.
The best way to prevent any sexually transmitted infection (STI), including HPV, is to not have vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Research shows that condom use can lower your risk of getting cervical cancer when used correctly and every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Protect yourself with a condom every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.You can lower your risk of getting cervical cancer with the following steps. You may have some spotting afterwards.When will I get the results of my Pap test?Usually it takes one to three weeks to get Pap test results. If the test shows that something might be wrong, your doctor will contact you to schedule more tests.
Abnormal Pap test results do not always mean you have cancer.Usually it takes one to three weeks to get Pap test results. If results of the Pap test are unclear or show a small change in the cells of the cervix, your doctor may repeat the Pap test immediately, in 6 months, or a year, or he or she may run more tests.Some abnormal cells will turn into cancer. Treating abnormal cells that don't go away on their own can prevent almost all cases of cervical cancer.
Your doctor should answer any questions you have and explain anything you don't understand. Protect yourself with a condom every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.Who should get the HPV vaccine?Girls who are 11 or 12 years old should get three doses of either Cervarix or Gardasil.
Treatment for abnormal cells is often done in a doctor's office during a routine appointment.If the test finds more serious changes in the cells of the cervix, the doctor will suggest more tests. Girls and women 13 through 26 should get the vaccine if they did not receive the recommended three doses when they were younger. Experts recommend boys who are 11 or 12 years old be vaccinated with three doses of Gardasil.
Males ages 13 to 21 should get the vaccine if they did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger. Talk to your doctor to find out if getting vaccinated is right for you.Girls who are 11 or 12 years old should get three doses of either Cervarix or Gardasil.
Talk to your doctor to find out if getting vaccinated is right for you.Can I still benefit from the HPV vaccine if I have already had sexual contact?Yes. You can still benefit from the HPV vaccine if you have already had sexual contact before getting all three doses.
A false positive Pap test occurs when a woman is told she has abnormal cervical cells, but the cells are not actually abnormal or cancerous. This only applies if you have not been infected with the HPV types included in the vaccine.Yes. If your doctor says your Pap results were a false positive, there is no problem.False negative.
A false negative Pap test is when a woman is told her cells are normal, but there is a problem with the cervical cells that was missed. If abnormal cells are missed at one time, they will probably be found on your next Pap test.Pap tests are not always perfect. A false negative Pap test is when a woman is told her cells are normal, but there is a problem with the cerA¬vical cells that was missed. Regular Pap tests help your doctor find and treat any abnormal cells before they turn into cancer.Get an HPV vaccine (if you are 26 or younger). Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a type of HPV that is passed from perA­son to person through genital contact. The best way to prevent any sexually transmitted infection (STI), including HPV, the cause of most cases of cervical cancer, is to not have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Although HPV can also occur in female and male genital areas that are not protected by condoms, research shows that condom use is linked to lower cervical cancer rates. Regular Pap tests and pelvic exams help your doctor find and treat any abnormal cells before they turn into cancer.Get an HPV vaccine (if you are 26 or younger). Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, a virus that is passed from perA¬son to person through genital contact.
Although HPV can also occur in female and male genital areas that are not protected by condoms, research shows that condom use is linked to lower cerA¬vical cancer rates. Protect yourself with a condom every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.How can I get a free or low-cost Pap test?Pap tests are covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care law passed in 2010.



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