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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » pap smear

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Author Topic: pap smear
fluorite
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how often should one get a pap smear? if one has been sexually active sans clothing with only one person and has tested free of STDs more than 6 months after last contact (according to bloodwork), and is in one's mid 20s, how important is it to get a pap smear if one never has before?
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Heather
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Good to see you again. [Smile]

Currently, the recommendations for pap smears are these:

- That people start getting pap smears either right around the time they start engaging in genital sex with others (or after assault) OR around the age of 21, whichever comes first.
- That after that first time, unless there are issues, once every two years generally suffices for continuing that preventative care.

Partners STI testing results have no bearing on getting paps, pap smears are about checks for your cervical health, and there can be health issues with the cervix even without someone having any sexual partners at all, or only partners who test negative for STIs.

So, if you are in your mid-20s and have yet to have a pap, it is likely past time to start with that.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fluorite
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So I guess my next question is...how. I mean I know I can call up my school's health clinic and make an appointment but I've never been able to insert my fingers or a tampon or anything. I can't get anything in even a little bit but there is extreme pain when I try. I've had doctors straight up tell me i'm not experiencing pain in the past, when in fact I was. This has happened twice with two different doctors on two totally separate issues. I also was dismissed as being an overly sensitive adolescent by doctors for six years until one finally realized by accident that the symptoms I was describing were because of a life threatening condition which luckily could be solved with surgery. I don't really trust doctors all that much. and as you know I've now been in a sexually abusive relationship (which I am now out of.) How can I know that a doctor won't just proceed even if I'm in intense pain because they think i'm just 'overreacting'. I don't even know how I can let them see me naked after what my ex did to me. I know there are small speculums, but are they smaller than the smallest tampon, or a pinky finger?
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Heather
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Okay, so what you want to do, then, is seek out a sexual healthcare provider you can give this history to, and have a discussion in advance with about how they do pap smears if and when a patient is fearful or is experiencing vaginal pain.

Yes, the smallest speculum is about that small, but providers can also do things, when needed, like prescribing an anti-anxiety medication for a patient to take in advance, be an advocate for abuse survivors by being extra sensitive and talking you through it, and other things.

But what you want to do is first see if you cannot make an appointment just for a consult about this - just to talk, no exams - so you only pick someone who has an approach to this you feel good about. How about starting by seeing if you can do that at your school clinic?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fluorite
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Thanks. I just did that. I think. The person on the phone seemed confused and kept thinking I wanted to talk about birth control even though I kept saying pap smear but in any case I have an appointment in a few weeks.
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Heather
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So long as you have a consult appointment, it shouldn't matter much. You can tell them what you want to talk about when you get there. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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