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At what age should you get a pap smear?

In general, it’s recommended that women start getting Pap tests at age 21. Once you turn 21, you should have a Pap test every three years. Your health care provider might tell you to have them more frequently, depending on your personal health and history. Pap tests look for abnormal cells in the cervix, which can eventually lead to cancer. These cells don’t often show up in younger women, so there’s no need to get a Pap test when you’re under 21, even if you’re having sex. Learn more about Pap tests. 

That said, if you’re having sex, thinking about having sex, or just concerned about something else that’s going on with your body, it’s a really good idea to go see a gynecologist or another health care provider for a checkup, a pelvic exam, to get on birth control, or just to talk about your questions or concerns. Find your local Planned Parenthood health center here. 

Tags: pelvic exam, pap test, pap smear, HPV