Monday, June 27, 2005

Open wide

Cross your legs for this one. I was a good woman and went for my biennial pap test this morning. There is nothing like having a stranger insert a foreign object into your vagina AND paying for it, to start the day off on a good note.

There are many things that I have never been told, or asked, by any doctor on rocking up for a pap smear. One is that you are not meant to have sex for up to 48 hours before your test (woops). Current USA sites list this, though it makes no distinction between protected and unprotected intercourse. Some sources even suggest you shouldn’t have a bath or swim 24 hours before hand. Another is any questioning as of my sexual history, especially factors that would suggest being at higher risk of cervical cancer and justifying annual testing. These include first sexual intercourse before 20 yo, multiple sexual partners and partners with a history of multiple partners (woops, woops and despite a couple of virgins, woops).

The Australian government’s policy is that women get tested every 2 years. A decade or so ago the recommendation was annual. Why the change? This is a purely cost cutting measure, weighing the cost of the women’s’ lives that are at risk as a result of adding an extra year between testing, and the expense to the State of testing every woman each year. Not surprisingly the USA, so well known for their public health policies (sic), has extended the screening to every three years. I predict that the longer we spend public money fighting wars in foreign countries, the more likely similar guidelines will be bought in here. Afterall a womans life is worth little when there are guns to buy and nations to conquer.


Blogger MelbourneGirl said...

with you on this one!

10:21 pm  

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