A Pap test may be recommended based on your health history or if certain types of high-risk HPV (human papillomavirus) are found in your cervix self-screening sample.
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A Pap test can be done by a doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, midwife, or naturopathic doctor at their office or clinic. The test takes between 5 to 10 minutes.
For the test, you will need to undress from the waist down. You will be provided with a gown or a sheet to cover up. Then lie back on the medical table and put your feet up.
When you’re comfortable, the health care provider will gently insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum holds the walls of the vagina open so that your cervix can be seen more clearly.
You may feel some pressure from the speculum, but it’s usually not painful.
The health care provider will use a small spatula or brush to collect some cells from your cervix.
Remember, you’re in control—don’t hesitate to ask questions or request to stop the test at any time if you feel uncomfortable.
The sample then goes to a lab to be examined for either signs of abnormal cells or HPV, or both. This will depend on factors like your age and health history.
Your results will be shared with you and a health care provider. You can also see your results online through Health Gateway
To get a Pap test call your health care provider or find a suitable clinic by visiting our clinic locator
You might need a Pap test if you:
- Recently completed cervix self-screening and had a positive HPV result
- Have a history of precancerous cells on your cervix
- Are pregnant or using a pessary
- Prefer to go to a health care provider for cervix screening