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Does A Pap Smear Test Also Detect any Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)? What to expect?

does pap smear test for std

Whether a pap smear also detects any STDs, in an essence, a pap test (pap smear) does not help discover STDs such as human papillomavirus (HPV). A pap test detects precancerous cells in your cervix mainly caused by HPV.

A yearly pap smear or overall women`s health examination may be the only time many women share their sexual and reproductive health with a medical practitioner. Gynecologists are doctors who specialize in female reproductive health, which includes sexually transmitted illnesses.

Do gynecologists screen for STDs during your yearly pelvic exam? Yes, the answer is yes. If your gynecologist does not recommend an STD test, feel free to discuss it with her and request one if it is appropriate for your case.

What potential STDs could be identified during a pap smear test?

A pap test, also known as a pap smear, is a medical examination that identifies precancerous cells on the cervix in order to avoid cervical cancer. Although a pap smear does not intend to test for sexually transmitted illnesses, human papillomavirus (HPV) can be discovered during a pap smear.

To scan for sexually transmitted diseases, a different testing approach is necessary.

The following STDs can be tested for at your yearly visit:

  • Herpes
  • Herpes
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Women health

Does it lead to screening for a potential STD by having a pap smear test?

The most important distinction is that a pap test looks for precancerous cells in the cervix caused by HPV. For a pap test, the doctor widens the vagina with a speculum before swabbing the exterior and interior of the cervix to get a sample of cervical cells. The sample is checked for precancerous cells, which are cells that exhibit any abnormalities or alterations that, if left untreated, might progress to cervical cancer.

Untreated HPV, a prevalent STD, could be the leading cause of cervical cancer. A pap smear test, on the other hand, does not tell you whether you have HPV. This advocates for additional and distinct testing, which may or may not be performed concurrently with the pap test. If your pap test findings are ambiguous or abnormal, your doctor may offer an HPV test to see if this was the reason.  While researchers are working on at-home solutions, a pap test currently requires an in-person visit to the doctor.

How could you perform self-testing for a variety of STDs?

A range of STI testing kits which include everything you need to gather swabs, urine samples, or blood tests on your own. Because various STIs necessitate different forms of testing, testing procedures are frequently mixed.

Does a pap smear test and STDs need regular screening?

Both pap tests and STIs necessitate routine screening, but when and how frequently you should be checked depends on a variety of criteria such as age, sexual experience, medical history, and past pap test results. When should you have your pap smear? All women over the age of 21 should be tested on a regular basis, however “regular” is a relative term. It is based on the findings of your prior test and if you are at risk for cervical cancer. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women aged 21 to 29 with no additional risk factors should get a pap smear test every three years. HPV screening is not required for women under the age of 30.

Discuss with your doctor over whether you should have a pap test or a pap plus an HPV/STD testing, and how frequently you should get them. If you are already diagnosed with HIV, another immune system condition, or precancerous cervical cells that were detected by your previous pap test, you may need to be examined more frequently.

Periodic STI testing is essential if you are sexually active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advices to be checked for HIV and hepatitis C at least once. Pregnant women should be checked for syphilis and HIV, and all sexually active women below 25 should be tested for STDs on a yearly basis. If you have several partners, just started a new relationship, or have sexual contact without any protection, you and your sexual partner must get tested so that any STDs may be detected and treated before they progress. Further, if you have itchy or burning sensations around the genitals, patches or sores in the region, discolored or stinky vaginal discharge, pain when peeing, or pain during sex, you should have a checkup.

Alternative methods of screening for STDs:

Fortunately, there are several STD testing choices. What matters most is that you select the finest solution for you. Let’s go over the various STD testing alternatives.

Home examinations:

These tests are often obtained online or by phone and delivered to your house or picked up at a drugstore. This alternative appeals to those who are concerned about visiting to a clinic for STD testing, despite the fact that the validity of such tests is sometimes questioned.

Primary care physician:

STD testing can be performed during an office visit to your primary care doctor. You must seek the appropriate STD test and make an appointment to be tested.

The emergency room:

Approaching the Emergency for STD testing is an option for those who are concerned about their privacy or who are experiencing symptoms and need answers quickly.

Booking an online test:

When the individual’s privacy and the accuracy of the exam are important, online choices are preferred. Tests are selected and booked online, and an appointment, frequently on the same day, is scheduled at your local testing location.

See Also: Reasons Menopause Changes Your Blood Pressure

Summary:

STDs if left untreated may also lead to long-term pelvic discomfort, reproductive problems, and pregnancy risks. Some STDs, such as chlamydia and syphilis, can be passed on to your child. STD screening not only protects you, but it also protects your current or prospective partners. If you get tested on a regular basis, you can determine and treat the STD and prevent it from spreading to others.

A pap smear test does not assist in the detection of STDs. Yet, it is hard to know everything regarding pap smear tests and STDs, so discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor. Inquire about screening, or request particular tests if you believe you require them. Knowing what conditions, you may have, would allow you to take the required next measures.

Family Medicine Austin

Written by Jeannette

I am Jeannette, the medical writing specialist here at Family Medicine Austin. I have over five years of experience working with a range of medical and healthcare across the U.S.