What is your Pap test checking for?

Betty Riojas has been working in the OB/GYN department at University Health System for 6 years. She knows it is important for women to get regular Pap tests. She urges her friends to stay healthy and get regular checkups.

Women should begin getting Pap tests once they turn 21. A Pap test is “checking for any abnormalities [cells that are not normal] and basically it’s checking for cervical cancer,” said Riojas. If a woman is sexually active it is also important to check for infections. Some doctors check for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during a Pap test. It is important to ask your doctor what they are testing for. If the doctor does not test for STIs, ask them to.

“Cervical cancer is preventable and if it is caught on time it is curable,” Riojas said. “People think that if they don’t know, it’s not going to hurt them. And that’s not true. What you don’t know can definitely hurt you. Don’t let embarrassment or denial keep you from getting checkups. As women we are worth it. We are worth taking care of ourselves.”

Talk to your doctor about STI tests.

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