Not a Simple Yes or No Answer
Many women think that their doctors are testing them for STDs as part of their annual physical exams. However, that is not the case. Just because you’re getting a Pap smear and a pelvic exam, it does not mean that you’re getting tested for STDs.
Certain types of Pap smear include HPV testing on the sample taken from your cervix, and sometimes damage or swelling from other STDs could show up on your Pap smear.
Comprehensive STD Screening is the Only Way
The only way to test for STDs common in sexually active adults is for a comprehensive test. Diseases such as chlamydia, HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis or herpes can only be screened for by specific tests that target those diseases.
Sometimes people confuse wet mounts with Pap smears. A wet mount is a slide made from a swab of your vagina. The slide shows vaginal infections and other conditions like bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis — the most common STD in young women.
A Pap smear, in contrast, is a swab of your cervix that a doctor in a pathology lab examines to find signs of cervical cancer. Neither wet mounts nor Pap smears alone can identify most common STDs.
Should I get a Pap smear or an STD test?
If you’re concerned about STDs, you should have a comprehensive STD test because a Pap smear cannot scan for them. Pap smears are still very important for detecting cervical cancer early. Regular physical exams including Pap smears or STD testing — especially for women with multiple partners — is paramount to maintaining sound reproductive and sexual health.
ARCpoint Labs STD Testing
Some ARCpoint Labs locations offer comprehensive STD screening. To learn more about what services we offer, contact your nearest location today.