Pap smears can be intimidating and confusing, but they don’t have to be – and an abnormal Pap smear doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dealing with a severe health issue, according to Self.com.
In fact, the best way to hone in on what an abnormal Pap smear might indicate is to pair it with an HPV test – the two tests are better than one. Regular screenings are important, and, according to the report, 21-29 year olds should get a Pap at least once every three years, 30 -65 year olds should get a Pap and an HPV test at least once every five years or a Pap on its own at least once every three years.
Together, the tests can suggest appropriate next steps and care procedures if necessary.
Read more about how the combined Pap and HPV test can provide clarity on abnormal screenings and what happens next here.