Friday, February 1, 2008

i want a pap smear

so last week i went to the school infirmary for my "annual." usually this consists of a consultation, a breast exam, i guess some other things, and a pelvic exam/pap smear, as well as STD testing if you ask for it. this time around, they told me that i don't need a pap smear, and that they won't provide them if you are under 21 and have not been sexually active for more than three years. and when i asked for one anyway, they refused to perform the procedure. their (they being the new national gynecological guidelines, but i bet you one trillion dollars that no private practice would deny you a pap smear) rationale is that you're not that likely to be exposed if you're young and haven't been having sex for that long, and if you have been, your body would get rid of the disease on its own.
this makes me so angry. the two qualifications for skipping the pelvic exam, being under 21 and having less than three years of sexual activity, potentially have no bearing on the likelihood of exposure to HPV or any other STD. it makes sense that the more exposure you have to sexual partners, the more likely you are to contract the disease. but say i started having sex two years ago and have had 50 partners since. just because i have been having sex for a relatively short period of time and i am relatively young does not make it unlikely that i have one of these diseases. it does not take three years to get HPV.
second of all, it is called a disease/virus because it is harmful. true, a younger person has a stronger chance of recovery than one who is older, but is there ever enough strength in someone to get rid of such a disease on one's own? this makes no sense. i'm actually pretty pumped for the lawsuit that's going to happen when a 20-year-old girl dies of HPV that was never diagnosed because her gynecologist wouldn't give her a pap smear. not pumped for the girl dying, just the potential overturning of this nauseating new guideline.
STD tests can be done in several ways, one of the most common being during a pelvic exam. not only do i think that doctors should encourage such testing and make it clear to the patient that a pap smear diagnoses only HPV, but i think that the new policy on pap smears is going to do horrible things for the anti-STD brigade that these health professionals advocate. STD testing for this age group is going to decrease infinitely, leaving infected girls untreated and unintentionally infecting others.
i'd love opinions on this one. if your response really excites me, i'll make a whole post just about you!

Now playing: The Shins - Saint Simon


kaleigh said...

you should update more often so I have entertaining stuff to read.
and is your middle name really lois?

ashleylois said...

yes. named after kathy's mom. loves it. so old fashioned. i'm going to do some celeb gossip now.