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Who needs to get a pap test?

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

A pap test looks for abnormal cells in the cervix, meaning only individuals with a cervix should be getting a pap test. Individuals assigned the female sex at birth fall into this category.

If you have a cervix and are currently sexually active (or have been in the past) and are at least 21 years old, the Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends that you get a Pap test every 3 years. This includes women engaging in either/ both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

It is important to note that women should still get a pap test even if they:

  • feel healthy and have no symptoms

  • are no longer sexually active

  • have only had 1 sexual partner

  • have been through menopause

  • have no family history of cervical cancer

  • have received the HPV vaccine

Find out here on how to access gynecological care near you.


Cervical Screening. Cancer Care Ontario. (2020, accessed August 18, 2020).

Retrieved from:

Lees BF, Erickson BK, Huh WK. Cervical cancer screening: evidence behind the guidelines. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology; 214: 438–443.


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