Skip to main content

What is a Pap Test?

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.


Video available in MandarinCantonesePunjabi and French.

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.

1Step One

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. 

2Step Two

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.

3Step Three

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.

4Step Four

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.

When do I need a Pap test?

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

​Book a Pap Test
Don't have a primary care provider? Find a local clinic offering Pap tests near you. 

Clinic Locator 
SOURCE: What is a Pap Test? ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © Provincial Health Services Authority. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2024 Provincial Health Services Authority