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Pap Test Fact Sheet


This fact sheet provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Pap tests.

This fact sheet addresses the following questions about Pap tests:

  • What is a Pap test?
  • Why do I need a Pap test?
  • Do all women need Pap tests?
  • How often do I need to get a Pap test?
  • Who does not need regular Pap tests?
  • I had a hysterectomy. Do I still need Pap tests?
  • How can I reduce my chances of getting cervical cancer?
  • What should I know about human papilloma viruses (HPV)?
  • How would I know if I had human papilloma virus (HPV)?
  • How do I prepare for a Pap test?
  • Should I get a Pap test when I have my period?
  • How is a Pap test done?
  • When will I get the results of my Pap test?
  • What do abnormal Pap test results mean?
  • My Pap test was "abnormal," what happens now?
  • My Pap test result was a "false positive." What does this mean?
  • I don't have health insurance, how can I get a free or low-cost Pap test?
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National Women's Health Information Center

Funding Sources

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

QualityTool Topic



  • Release Date: 03/2006
  • Original Summary: 03/2006
Disclaimer: The inclusion of a tool in the Innovations Exchange does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or Westat of the tool or of the submitter or developer of the tool. Read more.

Last updated: January 15, 2014.