If you were born with a vagina, 23 and over and have not changed your social security number, you will routinely be called in for a smear test every three years to find out if there have been any cell changes in your cervix. You will receive this notice to attend a smear test, and must go, even if you haven’t had sex (but if you’ve never had sex you don’t need to get tested). It may seem like a hassle or an inconvenience to go for smear tests, but you’re called so that you can have a better overview of your health. Many women who have sex with women choose not to go to these smear tests because they think them unnecessary, but HPV can easily be transmitted between women too. Remember, whether or not you have sex with men, these tests are an important way of helping you keep an eye on your health.

The smear tests are carried out at gynecology clinics and young people’s health centers, and the samples are taken by scraping a small speculum, cotton bud or brush against the cervix. The test takes just a couple of minutes, it’s painless and also free of charge. If the tests show cell changes, they will be followed up with an HPV test. In 2010 the examination method changed and only one test is now necessary.

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