Pap Smears Necessary For Virgin Women?
Pap smears are often unnecessary for true
virgin women unless they have smoked in the past (based on some
studies) or their mother took DES
(also known as diethylstilbestrol) during pregnancy between
1938 - 1971 to prevent miscarriage and premature delivery. In
most cases, cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted
disease, human papillomavirus (HPV). About 99% of cervical cancer
cases are caused by HPV. In rare cases, HPV can also be transmitted
during childbirth from mother to baby. Even if babies get the
HPV virus, their bodies usually clear the virus on their own.
Many young women who say that they are virgins
may be "technical" virgins meaning they have never
had sexual intercourse, but they have done other things such
as petting, oral sex, skin to skin contact with genitals, and
anal sex that put them at risk of contracting HPV. Genital contact
without penetration can cause HPV.
Why is it recommended
that pap smears start at age of 21 regardless of sexual activity?
It seems that the main reason that the guidelines
suggest that pap smears should start at age 21 for women regardless
of sexual history is because women are not always honest about
their sexual relationships. It is difficult for a provider to
ensure that they have the accurate sexual history of a patient.
But providers should keep in mind that many women are honest
about their sexual history.
Other Related Articles:
HPV Vaccine Should Be Avoided?
About Pap Smears
Pap smear: Do I need one if I'm a virgin? - Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.
Cancer and DES Exposure