If you're in your late 20s or older, you're probably used to getting a Pap test every year for as long as you can remember. But the guidelines have changed. In 2013, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new recommendations for cervical cancer screening for anyone with a vagina. Here they are:
• You don't need a Pap test until age 21. (Yes, even if you're sexually active.)
• If you're between the ages of 21-29, you should get a Pap test every 3 years.
• If you're between the ages of 30-65, you should get a Pap test every 3 years OR a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years.
• You can stop getting routine Pap tests at age 65 if you don't have a history of moderate/severe dysplasia or cancer AND you've had three negative Pap results in a row or two negative Pap/HPV results in a row, with the most recent test in the last five years.
BUT: If you have an abnormal Pap result, a history of cervical cancer, HIV, or a weakened immune system, you will most likely be screened more often. So check with your doctor about that.