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Fewer Pap screens limit chlamydia tests.

Changes in the recommended schedule of Pap smears for young women have resulted in fewer screenings for chlamydia as well, found a study published in the July-August issue of Annals of Family Medicine.

In 2009, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended that Pap smears, which screen for cervical cancer, begin at age 21. Previous recommendations encouraged women to begin cervical cancer screening three years after the first initiation of sexual intercourse or by age 21.

To examine the impact of the recommendation change on chlamydia screening, researchers studied visits to University of Michigan family medicine clinics among women ages 15 to 21 between 2008-2009 and 2011-2012. They found that women had a higher chance of being screened for chlamydia, which if left undiagnosed can cause pain and infertility, before the Pap smear guideline changed.

Specifically, researchers found that before the guideline change, nearly 62 percent of chlamydia screens were concurrent with a Pap smear. After the guideline change, about 11 percent of chlamydia tests were concurrent with having a Pap smear. Overall, patients were 14 times more likely to be screened for chlamydia before the guideline change.

"This study suggests that we cannot rely on pelvic examinations or cervical cancer screenings as opportunities for chlamydia screening as has been suggested in the past," the study stated.

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Title Annotation:HEALTH FINDINGS: The latest public health studies and research
Author:Krisberg, Kim
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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