Women must take a pap test or pap smear to check if there is any abnormal, unhealthy cervical cells or for cervical cancer.  A Pap test can be a life saver, as this can detect the early stages of cervical cancer.  If detected early, it can be stopped from developing and can be treated successfully, and cured.  Regular testing has led to a sharp decline in the quantity of cervical cancer cases and deaths. Depending on your health history and after consulting with your doctor the following guidelines are recommended: Women with HIV are more susceptible to cervical diseases and cervical cancer. Such women must get an initial Pap test, followed by another test after 6 months.  If both tests prove negative, then a yearly Pap test is recommended.

Pap Test

Women should take a Pap test every two years, starting when they are 21.  If they have  had 3 normal tests consecutively, and are 30 years or older, they must ask their  doctor if  they  can space out their  Pap tests to one every 3 years, and when you are  over 65 years of age, they should ask their  doctor whether they need Pap tests in the future or not. If, because of chemotherapy, steroid use or organ transplant the woman’s immune system has been weakened, or if their mother had diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy or are HIV positive, they should consult their doctor about the frequency of having Pap tests or Pap smears.

Women can reduce their chances of contacting cervical cancer by avoiding contact with the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is the foremost cause of cervical cancer.  HPV is the most contagious sexual infection and it increases chances of women getting cervical cancer if they:   Have sex before the age of 18, constantly changes sexual partners, her sex partners have different sex partners, who also have sex with many partners and had or has STI. Many women are not aware that they have HPV.  It has no visible symptoms like warts and sometimes it cannot be detected. HPV effects changes in the cervix, and timely Pap tests detect these changes. Pap testing Pap testing can have incorrect results, and to avoid incorrect results doctors suggest that 2 days before the test, do not do the following:

Douching, do not use tampons, do not use vaginal creams, other medicines and suppositories or have sex, and do not use vaginal deodorants or powders. Doctors also suggest that the best time to have the Pap tests is 10 to 20 days after the first day or your period, but never during the period. A Pap test is very simple and takes no time at all.  The doctor inserts a speculum (an instrument) into the vagina, extending it so that he can have a look at the cervix and then takes a few cells from the cervix with a special stick, which is examined in a lab.


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