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Pap Testing

By Justine Della Fave, MSN, APN

Posted in: Health Tips, Prevention, Sexual Health

purple, blue and pink cells

The goal of screening for cervical cancer is to catch cervical cancer (or precancer) early in women and transgender males. Due to the prevalence of Human Papilloma virus (HPV) it is recommended that women and transgender males have a pap screen starting at the age of 21 to assess for cancerous cells or abnormal cells that if left untreated, could lead to cervical cancer. How often you get a Pap test also depends on your medical history, and the results of your last Pap or HPV tests.

What Does It Involve?

The procedure itself is quick and involves viewing the cervix by inserting a small specimen and obtaining a sample which is sent to a laboratory for evaluation. While the procedure sounds scary, it is very simple and does not hurt although you might feel a small pinch. The University Health Center (UHC) offers the Pap test with the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner or you can go to your health care provider for this service. Your health is important, so if you are at least 21 years old and have never had a pap smear, make sure to schedule your annual exam today. You still need to have screening if you have been vaccinated against HPV.

What If I Have An Abnormal Pap Test?

If your Pap test results are abnormal, don’t panic. It’s pretty common to have unclear or abnormal Pap test results. Most of the time, it doesn’t mean that you have cervical cancer.

Paying for the Test

Although most insurance companies will pay for the screening, you should check with your insurance to verify your coverage and payment for the pap test. The University Health Center will provide your insurance information to the laboratory for payment. The UHC does not charge for your visit (including any co-pay) regardless of your insurance coverage.


Call or stop by the University Health Center if you have any questions, we are here to help you stay healthy. Learn More about the Pap test.