Preparing Adolescents for Their First Pelvic and Pap test

Introduction

Pelvic and pap tests are done for the detection of precancerous or cancerous states of the cervix. Further the tests help in the discovery of other infections in the reproductive organs as well as changes that may be considered abnormal. When a woman has healthy reproductive organs, it is essential since it reduces chances of complications during pregnancy and also results in normal fertility. During pelvic and pap tests, the woman undergoes screening and thus sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed. Further, conditions related to pregnancy are also diagnosed. Therefore, incase of abnormal cells or conditions, the woman undergoes treatment thus preventing the worsening of the condition. This involves women of the reproductive age.

Most people start having sexual intercourse at their adolescent age and that is why adolescents should also be prepared to have pelvic and pap tests. This topic is important since all people should have access to quality reproductive health. According to Bearinger, Sieving, Ferguson & Sharma (2007) there is need to continually invest in the strategies for the prevention as well as the treatment. This is because it helps in the protection of the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents. If not well taken care of during their adolescent stage, the reproductive health will be at risk. For instance, cancer is known to be a deadly disease and thus cancerous cells need to be detected early enough so that they can be destroyed before they cause grave effects.

There are various ways of preparing adolescents for pelvic and pap tests. Before the treatment of any disease, prevention is important. Therefore, adolescents should first be trained on how to take care of their reproductive health and its importance. Since they may engage in risky sexual behaviors, they should have education programs on sex. These are important because they provide the adolescents with information on the risks of irresponsible behaviors and also provide them with skills essential for negotiating sexual behaviors. It is through these training programs that these youths will learn and thus take more responsibilities in their reproductive health.

Adolescents face threat burdens in regard to their sexual as well as reproductive health. Therefore, just like any other adults who are economically able to access reproductive health care, these services should be extended to the adolescents. For instance there should be health care providers who have adequate training in working with the youths and the adolescents should have access to their services (Bearinger, Sieving, Ferguson & Sharma 2007). These clinicians know how well to approach the adolescents and thus will help them in achieving and maintaining their reproductive health. In preparing for pelvic and pap tests and reproductive health, adolescents need to attend programs for youth development. These help them to connect with adults and from the adults they will be able to learn a lot. This is because they will not view the programs as meant to discriminate them but that these are essential for women of all ages.

When adolescents are prepared for these tests, chances of chronic conditions developing are minimized. According to Sawyer, Drew, Yeo & Britto (2007) the minimal percentage of adults living with chronic conditions is 12%. However, with early preparation, this can be reduced. An example of these is through vaccinations which minimize the chances of suffering from reproductive health related problems. Therefore, adolescents need to be prepared for the tests and trained on reproductive health for the improvement of their life.

Questions: Which are the negative effects associated with vaccinations? This needs to be explored since there are reports that the vaccines enhance sexual activity and thus can result to increased risky behaviors. What is the importance of pelvic and pap tests and should they be part of the regular health care for adolescents? This will help in the understanding of the risks associated with failure to undergo regular tests and how regular women should undergo these tests.

Literature Review

HPV or the genital human papillomavirus is a prevalent viral infection that is sexually transmitted. According to studies of HPV epidemics there is an estimated 50%-70% percent rate of infection among women that are sexually active, and as such at least 50%-70% of these women contract the virus at one time in their life (Randolph, Parra, Klosky & Gamble, 2010). The infections are more prevalent among the adolescents and as such there is a necessity to focus on the early detection and treatment of the disease, because late responses to infections may be ineffective in handling the situation in order to bring it under control. Late detections are actually implicated for the high mortality rates that result from the infections which cause cancer. The rate of infection among the young women (including adolescents) is very high and it rises sharply after the initial sexual activity among adolescents which is usually established as a median age of 16.9 years for female adolescents.

Specific estimates show that the prevalence of the infection is as high as 39.6% among females aged 14-19 years, whereas; that among women aged 20-24 years stands at 49.3% (Randolph et al. 2010). These statistical recordings apply to young females that are sexually active and within this particular age brackets. Despite, the difference between the two age groups there is cognizance of the danger that the adolescents in the first age group may be faced with, especially; when they lack knowledge that is to enlighten them on issues of the infection, its causes, effects and mode of prevention. However, having acquired information on the importance of early detection there is a need to design a program to specifically address this vulnerable group (Randolph et al. 2010).

The “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance” conducted in 2007 in the United States of America on the health related risk behaviors showed that at least 45.9% of female high school going students had engaged in sexual acts. This should be a point of concern, because women that start engaging in sex at a younger age are more likely to have many sexual partners and have more unprotected sex-an act that exposes them to more risk of contracting the HPV virus (Randolph et al. 2010). The most dangerous effect of HPV virus is resultant cancer, and among the hundred strains of the HPV viruses identified, HPV 18 and HPV 16 have been identified as causes of cervical cancer among women. The fight against HPV strains that cause cervical cancer takes on two channels that have been identified as the potential ways to curb spread and alleviate the risks posed by infections. These measures include early detection, through the administration of tests such as PAP Smears and the administration of vaccines that have developed.

The vaccination provides preventive care, whereas; the PAP Smear provides an early detection system that can be used in helping those infected early enough before the virus can do any extreme damages such as causing cervical cancer. Fortunately, if detected early the virus is curable and cervical cancer resulting from it is preventable. However, the unfortunate part is that there are no clear programs set up to disseminate knowledge to adolescents and their parents on the importance of conducting timely tests on HPV potential infections and the importance to seek for a vaccination whenever and wherever possible as means of taking cautionary care (Han et al. 2011). Apparently, some of the vaccines designed for HPV strains of viruses are new and their effectiveness is not yet ascertained. Nonetheless, taking a vaccination is still essential and perhaps the best option in cases of people that may fail to undertake Pap smear tests for long.

Now that the problem has been identified and the solutions conceived, these is a great lack of information on how to go about the implementation of these two measures to curb the dangers of HPV virus, especially; among the adolescents who happen to be the most vulnerable of all people. Their vulnerability is due to their lack of knowledge on the virus, its effect and preventive measures. Areas of major concern in this regard include determining the perception of adolescents and their parents with regard to the viral infections from HPV and their level of awareness. The collection of this information should be important on addressing the issue of how to handle the problem among adolescents and their parents through provision of sufficient education and guidance as well as tests and vaccination programs (Han, Aygul & Gulten, 2011). Additionally, there is a need to gather professional information on the effectiveness and effects of the vaccines in order to advice the parents and the adolescents accordingly and accurately.

Conclusively, the adolescents are at a higher risk of HPV infection and their risk even increases as they move into their mid-youth life, and therefore; there is a necessity for them to first acquire the knowledge on the virus, it effects, potential preventive and curative measures as well as professional advice on the effectiveness of tests, vaccines and their effects and importance. This may only be realizable through establishments of research along these lines-which have not yet been extensively carried out as of the moment (Tsui et al. 2006).

References

Bearinger, L.H., Sieving, R.E., Ferguson, J. & Sharma, V. (2007) Global perspectives on the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents: patterns, prevention, and potential. The Lancet. Vol. 369 (9568). 1220-1231

Han, C. A. Aygul, A. and Gulten, G. (2011),. Health Belief Model Scale for Cervical Cancer and Pap Smear Test: psychometric testing. Journal of Advanced Nursing; volume number 67, issue number 2, pp. 428-437

Randolph, E. M. Parra, R. G. Klosky, L. J. and Gamble, L. H. (2010),. Factors influencing familial decision-making regarding human papillomavirus vaccination: The Journal of Pediatric Psychology, volume number 35, issue number 7: 704-15

Sawyer, S.M., Drew, S., Yeo, M.S. & Britto, M.T. (2007),. Adolescents with a chronic condition: challenges living, challenges treating: The Lancet. Vol. 369 (9571). 1481-1489

Tsui, J. Saraiya, M. Jorgensen, M. C. and Calloway, C. (2006),. A content analysis of news coverage of HPV vaccine by U.S newspapers: January 2002-2005. The Journal of Women Health, volume number 15, issue number 7

 

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