Pap Smear or Pap Test – A test that can save a woman’s life by finding early cancer of the cervix, which is also called cervical cancer. The Pap test can also find abnormal cells before they become cancer cells. When this condition is treated at once, cancer of the cervix can be avoided. All females above 18 years of age who are, or have been sexually active, should have a Pap test.
Since women with HIV infection have a greater risk of developing cervical cancer, it is recommended by CDC that they have two tests 6 months apart, and if both are negative, then they should have a test every year. In general, for women who do not have HIV infection, after they have had a negative test 3 years in a row, they can have a test every 1 to 3 years. However, since every woman’s situation is different, it’s important that each woman consult her doctor about how often to be tested.
It’s very important that all women who have a Pap test follow up to get the Pap test result for the following key reasons:
- It may lead to treatment that can prevent cancer of the cervix,
- It may show cancer early enough for life-saving treatment, and
- It may show treatable infection or inflammation.