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Are Pap Smears Necessary For Virgin Women?

Pap smears are often unnecessary for true virgin women unless they have smoked in the past (based on some studies) or their mother took DES (also known as diethylstilbestrol) during pregnancy between 1938 - 1971 to prevent miscarriage and premature delivery. In most cases, cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted disease, human papillomavirus (HPV). About 99% of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV. In rare cases, HPV can also be transmitted during childbirth from mother to baby. Even if babies get the HPV virus, their bodies usually clear the virus on their own.

Many young women who say that they are virgins may be "technical" virgins meaning they have never had sexual intercourse, but they have done other things such as petting, oral sex, skin to skin contact with genitals, and anal sex that put them at risk of contracting HPV. Genital contact without penetration can cause HPV.

Why is it recommended that pap smears start at age of 21 regardless of sexual activity?

It seems that the main reason that the guidelines suggest that pap smears should start at age 21 for women regardless of sexual history is because women are not always honest about their sexual relationships. It is difficult for a provider to ensure that they have the accurate sexual history of a patient. But providers should keep in mind that many women are honest about their sexual history.

Other Related Articles:

Why HPV Vaccine Should Be Avoided?

Truth About Pap Smears

Sources:

Pap smear: Do I need one if I'm a Virgin? - Sandhya Pruthi, MD, Mayo Clinic Internist

Can Cervical Cancer Strike Before You’re Sexually Active?

Cervical Cancer and DES Exposure

HPV and Pregnancy

 
     
   
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