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New U-M Study Suggests that New Pap Smear Schedule Led to Fewer Chlamydia Tests

 As we all know, pap smear schedule is a test for early signs of cervical cancer, while chlamydia screening is a different test for a sexually transmitted disease. However, a new study suggests that a change in the recommended schedule for one may dramatically reduce the chances of getting the other for women.

If undiagnosed, chlamydia can leave women in pain and result in infertility problem. Until six years ago, most women under age 25 were recommended to call for Pap smears earlier and more often, and chlamydia screening once they were sexually active. Doctors could take samples during the same pelvic exam. But the Pap smear schedule for young women changed in 2009, removing annual tests before age 21 to lower the chance of unnecessary follow-up tests. 
“Even though the number of visits by young women was nearly the same, the chlamydia screening is indeed decreased with the change in screening.” Says Allison Ursu, M.D, who is a lecturer at U-M Medical School Department of Family Medicine.
In the year before the new Pap test guideline and two years later, those sexually active young women aged 16 to 21 were involved in the tests separately. It indicates that those in the earlier group were nearly 14 times more likely to get a chlamydia test than those two years later, even though the total clinic visits were nearly the same.
The results suggested that the two were performed together 60 percent of the time before the guideline change, but only 10 percent of the time two years later. "The clinical framework of the visit changes when we're not doing a pelvic exam, and the things we're thinking about are different." says Ursu.
It’s suggested for all sexually active young women under age 25 to have chlamydia tests annually, since the disease is easily spread because it often causes no symptoms and may be unknowingly passed to sexual partners. Fortunately, it’s a curable disease with suitable treatments like Fuyan Pill. However, according to national data, only 20% percent women will get Chlamydia screening each year. 
However, the increasing use of new computer systems at clinics can prompt medical assistants, doctors and nurses during a visit for the recommended tests. Since the new guideline appears, more than two-thirds of sexually active patients get screened each year. "Patients pay much attention to Pap tests, but many still think they need one yearly. There's much less awareness of chlamydia screening."

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