Wondering does a Pap smear test for STD or STIs? We tell you what to expect.
Before you visit a gynecologist or obgyn you may be wondering what will be involved in your appointment. If you’re not pregnant or looking for contraception, the most common things associated with your obgyn visit are pap smears and STD tests. But what exactly are they, and does a pap smear test for STD or STIs? Here, we break down these terms and what you can expect.
At Lona Sasser Obstetrics and Gynecology, our compassionate and experienced doctors provide STD testing and treatment, annual well-woman exams, obstetrical care, and many more gynecologic and obstetric services to the Coral Springs, FL area.
What is an STD
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs) are passed from one person to another during sexual contact. For some people there can be stigma or other hurdles that make it uncomfortable to ask for testing or to ask your partner(s) to get tested. But it’s important to get regular STD testing. Your obgyn can help.
Your doctor is a safe place to bring your questions and concerns. Ask specifically for testing when you visit your care provider and discuss your sexual history with them. They can help you overcome discomfort and get the information you need.
You may make an appointment specifically for testing, or you may ask for it during your annual visit. Your annual well-woman visit includes a chance to discuss your health with your provider, plus routine screenings and a physical exam that may include a Pap test.
But can a pap smear test for STD or STIs?
What is a Pap Smear?
Things like taking measurements of your weight, height, and blood pressure, a breast exam, a pelvic exam, and a Pap smear are regular parts of your annual gynecological care.
Pap smears won’t happen every time. They are generally recommended every 3 years for women ages 21 to 65, but you should have a comprehensive wellness exam annually.
If your pelvic exam does include a Pap test, also known as a Pap smear, your health care provider inserts a speculum into your vagina. The speculum allows them to see your cervix and use a small swab to gently collect cells from your cervix. The cells are then sent to a laboratory to be tested for abnormal cells.
Does a Pap smear test for STD or STIs?
So does your pap smear test for STD infections?
Pap tests look for any cell changes in your cervix which could lead to cervical cancer. Such cell changes are often caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which is an STD. But Pap tests only test for the cell changes, not whether or not you have HPV or any STI.
It’s important to ask separately for STD testing.
Take advantage of your annual exam
Your annual well-woman visit is a great opportunity to speak with your provider and check in with your health and well-being. Your annual visit is a good time to:
- Get tested for STIs
- Receive a pregnancy test
- Discuss birth control, family planning, and fertility goals
- Bring up any concerns or questions about menstruation
- Talk about gynecological problems and symptoms that are abnormal for you
And perhaps most importantly, taking advantage of this routine exam is one of the best ways to build a positive, trusting, lifelong relationship with your gynecologist.
Make your obgyn a partner on your health journey! Contact the compassionate doctors at Dr. Lona Sasser Obstetrics & Gynecology to schedule your well-woman exam or STD testing.