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Who Should Get Checked?

Most women age 21-69, who have ever been sexually active should have a regular Pap test every 3 years. Transgender males and females may also need regular Pap tests.

Sexual activity includes sexual intercourse as well as genital skin-to-skin touching, with a male or female partner.

Should I get checked if:  
I have never had sexual contact? No
I have only had one partner? Yes
I am a lesbian or am a woman who has had sex with women? Yes
I am post-menopausal? Yes
I have no family history of cervical cancer? Yes
I have had a hysterectomy but I still have my cervix? Yes
I am under 21? No
I have had the HPV vaccine? Yes
I am a trans male who has a cervix? Yes
I am a trans female who has had bottom surgery to create a cervix? Yes

Why every 3 years?

Having a Pap test every year or two offers very little added benefit over having a Pap test every three years and can expose women to unnecessary harms including:

  • discomfort or bleeding from the test,

  • anxiety that may results from abnormal test results,

  • over-diagnosis of abnormal cell changes that would go away on their own, and

  • problems with future pregnancies from some treatments during colposcopy.

Why are Pap tests not recommended under 21 years of age?

Cervical cancer is very rare in women younger than 21 years of age. As well, the harms of screening under 21 significantly outweigh the benefits. Find out more about the harms of cervical cancer screening under the age of 21.

If you have questions about your screening eligibility, talk to your health care provider or contact CervixCheck.


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