HPV Vaccines

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Do women who have been vaccinated against HPV still need Pap tests?

Yes. Females who get vaccinated will still need to be tested regularly for cervical cancer because the vaccines do not prevent all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. If your daughter or granddaughter gets the vaccine, she will still need to have Pap tests at the scheduled times to check for cervical cancer.

See Cervical Cancer: Prevention and Early Detection for the American Cancer Society’s screening guidelines.

If girls who are vaccinated will still need Pap tests, why should they get vaccinated?

Even though Pap tests are needed, the vaccines can prevent about 70% of cervical cancers. But there are still other types of HPV that can cause changes in the cervix cells. The Pap test does not keep these cells in the cervix from changing – but it can find them before they become cervical cancer. This means that if a woman has an abnormal Pap test, she will have other tests done and then treatment to keep the changed cells from becoming cancer. But because of the vaccine, many women won’t have any abnormal cervical cancer screening tests, and won’t need further tests and treatment for cervical cancer or pre-cancer.

Last Medical Review: 04/09/2014
Last Revised: 02/03/2016