Why Some Young Women are Opting to not get Screened

In class we discussed risk and absolute versus relative risk. Absolute risk is the proportion that experience an event compared to the population at risk. Relative risk is a comparison between two groups of people, or in the same group of people over time. According to the CDC only  69.4% of US women have had a pap smear within the last three years. Pap smears help screen for HPV,cervical cancer, and other STDs. Pap smears should begin either at the age of 21, or after you become sexually active. Then you should have a pap smear every 2-3 years until you’re 65. The largest percentage of women not getting tested are young women.

There have been many campaigns to try to encourage young women to get a pap smear.  There are many reasons why they are deciding to not get tested. The main reason for not getting tested is because it is awkward. In class, procrastination was a reason why some people put themselves at a health risk, this could be a reason why so many women are putting off screening. Another reason may be that pap smears aren’t covered by all insurance plans, so poorer women may be opting out of screening because they can’t afford it. Another reason why women aren’t getting tested may be religion. A large percentage of women in developing countries have not had a pap smear because of these reasons.

Now some medical professionals are saying if a women has gotten the HPV vaccine, like gardisil, then they do not need a pap smear. While other health professionals are saying this is untrue and women can still contract HPV even with the vaccine. They also argue it is still necessary to get a pap smear because it still screens for cervical cancer and STDs.


Image result for pap smear campaign

CDC % of women getting tested: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/pap-tests.htm

CDC facts about pap smears: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/pdf/HPV_Testing_2012_English.pdf


get tested vs not get tested: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/11/29/pap.test.teens.std/index.html?iref=allsearch


~Katie McNulty


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