The Checkup: Why You May Be Able to Skip Your Pap Test This Year, Ladies

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued new guidelines regarding women and pap smears.

• New guidelines issued this week by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists mean you may be able to skip your pap smear this year, ladies, depending on your age and previous test results. The medical group now advises that women between the ages of 21 and 29 need only get Pap smears every three years if their previous Paps have detected no signs of trouble. As the AP explains, “Certain strains of HPV, the human papillomavirus, cause most cervical cancer, but the infection has to persist for a number of years to do its damage. HPV is a super-common virus in young women, whose bodies usually clear the infection on their own. Thus, health groups don’t recommend routinely testing 20-somethings for HPV because it would cause too many false alarms.” For women between the ages of 30 and 65, the ACOG now recommends a two-for-one test, with doctors conducting a Pap smear and HPV test at the same time; if the results of that co-test come back negative, women in this age group can go as long as five years until their next screening. Read more about the details here.

• Ew. Bloomberg Businessweek reports on a study that cell phones are a bacteria-laden as bathroom door handles. Again I say: ew.

• Just in time for Halloween, the Wall Street Journal reports that being scared to death is a real (although rare) thing. More here.