According to a press release today from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), women should wait until age 21 to have their first Pap test to screen for cervical cancer.
Previously, ACOG recommended that young women begin cervical cancer screenings three years after first sexual intercourse or by age 21, whichever occurred first. The change in recommendation is to "avoid unnecessary treatment of adolescents which can have economic, emotional, and future childbearing implications."
In addition, ACOG says women over the age of 21 should be screened for cervical cancer less often than previously recommended. The private, non-profit group of physicians now recommends that women who are 21 to 30 years old get screened every two years instead of annually.
Women over the age of 30 should be screened for cervical cancer once every three years, as long as they have had three consecutive normal test results. This is also a new recommendation from ACOG.
The new guidelines will be published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.