If there is one thing I think all women can agree on is that pap smears really suck. I hate them. When I was younger, I'd have a glass of wine before my annual spread-em and pap smear. The oppressive American healthcare system "recommends" that women have annual paps starting at age 21 or when they become sexually active, which ever comes first.
But, the enlightened Brits, and their national healtcare system the NHS, have wisely decided that women don't need a PAP until they are 25! Darleen at PW:
An American woman unfamiliar with the UK NHS will look at that age range in confusion. Does British medicine really (and erroneously) only recommend pap smears at 25?
Let’s be clear here, and this is something all Americans should know about the UK NHS — in a country where the legal age of consent for sex is 16 — British women are currently barred from getting pap smears until they are 25 years old. The NHS “invites” women between the ages of 25 to 65 for smears — age 25-49, once every 3 years, 50-65 once every 5 years. American women are advised to start going for paps annually once they are sexually active, or minimally age 21 if not. The UK NHS refusal to allow smears, even to women who are mothers, under the age of 25 leads to startling cases.
I don't know what Darleen's on about, because she seems to actually LIKE pap smears. Must be some pap-smear-lover. Well, SHE CAN HAVE THEM. I, for one, welcome our new Healthcare Overlords and their cost-saving wisdom:
Is it little wonder that the cervical cancer mortality rate in the UK is almost twice that of the US?
Why did the UK raise the age of screenings? Cost, of course. Since cervical cancer is relatively rare in women under 25, why waste money testing them all when it means preventing only a few hundred deaths? What are the lives a few hundred women in the grand scheme of nationalized medicine?
Times are tough. And pap smears suck. What's to debate?
Of course, you'll always have your complainers. And, you know, the whiny headlines write themselves; "Pap smears expense limits use; women and children hardest hit." .