Sex Terms

Pap Test

A medical test that examines cells from a girl’s or woman’s cervix to determine whether there are any irregular cells that could indicate a pre-cancerous condition. During a pelvic exam, a gynecologist or other clinician will gently scrape the cervix with an instrument to collect some of the cells near the opening to the cervix. These cells are placed on a slide and examined under a microscope at a lab.

Doctors recommend that girls and young women make an appointment to see a gynecologist for a Pap test when they turn 21. Girls and women who have sex with other girls and women should also have a Pap test when they turn 21. Once a girl or woman starts to have Pap tests, regardless of the sex of her partner, she should have them every three years after that.

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