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Prevention Guidelines for Women 18 to 39

Screening tests and vaccines are an important part of managing your health. A screening test is done to find diseases in people who don't have any symptoms. The goal is to find a disease early so lifestyle changes and checkups can reduce the risk of disease. Or the goal may be to find it early to treat it most effectively. Screening tests are not used to diagnose a disease. But they are used to see if more testing is needed. Health counseling is important, too. Below are guidelines for these, for women ages 18 to 39. Talk with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re up to date on what you need.

Screening

Who needs it

How often

Alcohol misuse

All adults

At routine exams

Blood pressure

All adults

Yearly checkup if your blood pressure is normal*

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg*

If your blood pressure is higher than normal, follow the advice of your healthcare provider.

Breast cancer

All women in this age group should talk with their healthcare providers about breast self-awareness

At routine exams 

Cervical cancer

Women ages 21 and older

Women between ages 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years. HPV testing is not advised.

Women between the ages 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years.

Chlamydia

Sexually active women ages 24 and younger, and women at increased risk for infection

Every 3 years if at risk or if you have symptoms

Depression

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Diabetes mellitus, type 2

Adults with no symptoms who are overweight or obese and have 1 or more extra risk factors for diabetes (such as having a close relative with diabetes or having had diabetes in a previous pregnancy)

At least every 3 years (annual testing if blood sugar has begun to rise)

Gonorrhea

Sexually active women at increased risk for infection

At routine exams

Hepatitis C

Anyone at increased risk for infection

At routine exams

HIV

All women

At routine exams

Obesity

All adults

At routine exams

Syphilis

Women at increased risk for infection

At routine exams if at risk

Tuberculosis

Anyone at increased risk for infection

Check with your healthcare provider

Vision

Women in this age group1

Every 5 to 10 years if no risk factors for eye disease

Counseling

Who needs it

How often

Breast cancer, chemoprevention

Women at high risk

When risk is noted

BRCA mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility

Women with increased risk

When risk is noted

Diet and exercise

Women who are overweight or obese

When diagnosed and at routine exams

Domestic violence

Women at the age in which they are able to have children

At routine exams

Sexually transmitted infection prevention

Women who are sexually active

At routine exams

Skin cancer

Prevention of skin cancer in fair-skinned adults through age 24

At routine exams

Tobacco use and tobacco-related disease

All adults

Every exam

Immunizations***

Who needs it

How often

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

All women in this age group up to age 26

2-3 doses (depending on the age at which the vaccine series began). If 3 doses are advised, the second dose should be given at least 1 month after the first dose and the third dose should be given at least 5 months after the first dose.

Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Td/Tdap) booster

All adults

Td: every 10 years

Tdap: Have a 1-time dose of Tdap instead of a Td booster after age 18, then boost with Td every 10 years

Chickenpox (varicella)

All adults in this age group who have no record of previous infection or vaccine

2 doses; the second dose should be given 4 to 8 weeks after the first dose

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine

All adults in this age group who have no record of previous infection or vaccines

1 or 2 doses

Flu vaccine (seasonal)

All adults

Yearly, when the vaccine is available

Haemophilus influenzae Type B (HIB)

Women at increased risk for infection. Talk with your healthcare provider.

1 to 3 doses

Hepatitis A vaccine

People at risk2

2 doses given at least 6 months apart

Hepatitis B vaccine

People at risk3

3 doses; second dose should be given 1 month after the first dose. The third dose should be given at least 2 months after the second dose (and at least 4 months after the first dose).

Meningococcal

People at risk4

1 or more doses

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)

People at risk5

PCV13: 1 dose ages 19 to 65 (protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria)

PPSV23: 1 to 3 doses depending on medical situation (protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria)

The type of vaccine used and the number of doses depends on age and medical situation. Talk with your healthcare provider about when and which type of vaccine is best for you.

* American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines

**There may be exceptions may exist. Talk with your healthcare provider.

1 From the American Academy of Ophthalmology

2 For full list, see the CDC website.

3 For full list, see the CDC website.

4 People ages 19 to 21 who are first-year college students or have 1 of several medical conditions

5 For full list, see the CDC website.

***People who are 18 years old and not up to date on their childhood vaccines should get catch-up vaccines advised by the CDC.

Other guidelines are from the USPSTF.

Vaccine schedule from the CDC

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Hurd MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2019
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.