when should i get a pap smear

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  • What is the best age to get a Pap smear?

  • At what age should you get a pap smear? In general, it鈥檚 recommended that women start getting Pap tests at age 21. Once you turn 21, you should have a Pap test every three years.

  • Why would a doctor order a Pap smear?

  • Why it’s done. A Pap smear is used to screen for cervical cancer. The Pap smear is usually done in conjunction with a pelvic exam. In women older than age 30, the Pap test may be combined with a test for human papillomavirus (HPV) 鈥?a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer.

  • How often should you get a Pap smear for HPV?

  • Between 21 and 29, a Pap smear should be performed every three years. In this age group, HPV testing should only be used if a Pap smear returns with abnormal cell results. When a woman turns 30, the Pap smear should be used along with an HPV test. This co-testing should continue at five-year intervals until age 65.

  • When should you stop having a Pap smear?

  • At age 65, the guidelines change again. Women 65 and older who have had regular screenings for the previous 10 years, and whose tests have not turned up any abnormalities in the previous 20 years, can stop Pap smears.

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