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Does a pap smear test for STDs?

I’m Dr. Flash and I’m here to answer your questions about sexual health.

Women should absolutely be getting pap smears. And when you’re getting your pap smear, you should also talk to your provider about getting STD testing as well.

I think sometimes when women go through pap smears, they assume that “everything” was done.

And it’s important as the patient to really go through the checklist and say, “Okay, so you did my pap smear, but did you also check me for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV?” And make sure that HIV testing and that STD testing also happens.

I can’t tell you how many times I will have a patient come in and I have to explain that a pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. It is not part of an STD checkup.

This video is a joint production of KFF’s GREATER THAN and CDC’s LET’S STOP HIV TOGETHER. This information is shared for educational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at the time of filming.

Always consult a healthcare provider for any personal health decisions. The marks “CDC” and “Let’s Stop HIV Together” are owned by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services and are used with permission. Use of these logos is not an endorsement by HHS or CDC of any particular product, service, or enterprise.