Annual exam, gynecological exam, testing, “getting checked out”, well woman exam, pap smear…As a Sexual Wellness Specialists (formerly CHECS) I hear these terms used interchangeably, but these terms can refer to vastly different things! As always, I’m here to offer up some clarification…
A well woman exam consists of a health history, a clinical breast exam and a pelvic exam. A pap smear is meant to be a routine cancer screening to check for abnormal cells on the cervix that could indicate the presence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV causes most types of cervical cancer, but regular screening tests can detect and treat problems early before they ever turn into cancer. At Campus Health Services, we generally recommend that a woman should begin having well woman exams, including a pap smear, when she turns 21.
Testing for sexual transmitted infections (STIs) is different than a pap smear, but providers at Campus Health can test for STIs during a pap smear. It is not a problem if you want STI testing without the pap smear, just be sure to mention it when you call to make an appointment (919-966-8122). Also, if you are experiencing symptoms, the clinician will want to hear about your concerns or symptoms. Symptoms might be hard to talk about, but telling your provider is incredibly important! Be proud of yourself that you are taking control of your own health.
If you are interested in learning more about reproductive and sexual health, make an appointment with the Sexual Wellness Specialists (formerly CHECS) by calling 919-966-3658. We are happy to talk with you about any sexual health questions you might have. You’ve already paid for Sexual Wellness Specialists (formerly CHECS) with your student fees; so take advantage of this free and confidential service.