Pap smear guidelines for women have changed - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pap smear guidelines for women have changed

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RICHLAND, Wash.—Women may not have to see their gynecologist as often according to new guidelines for women's pap smears. 

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now says women who are 21 to 29yo only need a pap smear every three years.  Those under 21yo don't need one at all regardless of sexual history.  And, healthy women between ages 30 and 65yo need a pap smear only every five years if they combine it with a test of human papillomavirus or HPV.

"Say you test and they come back negative it is unlikely that they would change in two years," says Dr. Saira Tandom, Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

Some doctors also say testing too often can lead to over treatment.  However, many women NBC Right Now spoke to disagree.

‘We're making a mistake, because we're putting women's health at risk, because things are good one year doesn't mean things don't change in a years time," says Anne Meisinger, disagrees with new guidelines.

"The sooner you find out if you have any issues the better, and an annual check up is something that's been done for years and it's saved lots of lives," says Sylvia Browning, disagrees with new guidelines.

Doctor Tandom says the guidelines are merely a recommendation.  She says to speak with your doctor about testing and see what is right for you.