The Law of Unintended Consequences

Has the guidelines that encourage less Pap testing over the course of a woman’s life contributed to less women being screened for STDs such as Chlamydia? According to a study published this week, yes.  The cohort is rather small–3000 teenagers and young women–but even so, the results are striking. Before 2009, 30 percent of patients were screened for Chlamydia; after 2009, only 1 percent were.

While this is discouraging, the CDC found that teenagers are having less sex than they were twenty-five years ago, which some attribute to the HPV vaccine and its accompanying education.

Further reading on the relationship between HPV vaccines, Pap screening, and STD testing:

Chicago Tribune




Kelly Swails, MT(ASCP), is a laboratory professional, recovering microbiologist, and web editor for Lab Medicine.

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