What is a Pap Smear?

A pap smear is a screening tool that could detect cervical cancer in the earliest stages, and therefore intervention could be down so as not to develop into cancer. If cancer cells are found, women can access treatment to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Women are advised to have a pap smear once a year even if the result is normal. Pap smears can be done at your local Health Center, The Family Planning Clinic, The Cancer Society or your private doctor. Please remember to bring a copy of your result to your next MRFTT appointment.

Risks of Cervical Cancer

HIV Positive women are at greater risk for developing cervical cancer than women who are not HIV positive. Cervical cancer is caused by a virus known as HPV – Human Papilloma Virus. HPV is transmitted during sex and by skin to skin contact.

Many persons have HPV and have no symptoms, but the minute virus can go on to develop into cancer. HPV causes vaginal warts and if you suspect you have these, please report to your doctor or nurse. Women up to the age of 45 years are encouraged to get the HPV vaccine. The vaccine prevents you from the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is now available at MRFTT Clinic. Ask at the clinic for the current vaccine days/times.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is spread by sexual contact and skin to skin contact.

A Pap Smear is a procedure that takes a small sample to send to the lab to see if there are cancer cells present.

Not necessarily. Abnormal results can be caused by infection or inflammation. Your doctor will advise you about whether the test has to be repeated.


Women who are HIV positive should have a Pap Smear every year.

Take you anti-retroviral meds everyday, stay healthy by eating well and not smoking, have your annual pap smear and get vaccinated for HPV.

You can get a pap smear can be done at your Local Health Center, The Family Planning Clinic, The Cancer Society or your private Gynaecologist.

Yes! MRFTT has a Women’s Health Clinic three Saturdays every month where pap smears are offered to clients. Call 783-5036 for more information.