What STDs Can a Pap Smear Detect?

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Pap smears test cells for indications of cervical cancer, but a few STDs may also be detected in abnormal pap smear results. Abnormal results are often unclear and require further testing to determine the cause.

Speculum
Speculum (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Human Papillomavirus

Since HPV is the virus linked to cervical cancer, HPV may be detected through a pap smear. Pap smears can detect low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, which are slight cell changes caused by HPV infection.

Gynecologist
Gynecologist (Image: Keith Brofsky/Valueline/Getty Images)

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD, and one of the most likely to be detected by a pap smear. Pap smears show 60 percent accuracy for detecting Trichomoniasis, according to trichomoniasis.org.

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Gynecologist (Image: Keith Brofsky/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Chlamydia

Pap smears may detect Chlamydia if results show inflammation of the cells or if the cervix is noticeably inflamed.

Gynecologist
Gynecologist (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Herpes

In rare cases, pap smear results can reveal cells that have been damaged by a herpes infection. Visible sores from a herpes outbreak can be easily identified during physical exams.

Gynecologist
Gynecologist (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Warning

Pap smears are not a reliable method for detecting STDs. Ask your health care provider for STD testing to ensure accurate results. This may involve a swab of cervical cells or a blood test.

Gynecologist
Gynecologist (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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