Ladies, when is the last time you had a pap test? If you can’t remember, then it’s time to check in on your health.
A group of gynecologists are hosting a day of free pap and STI tests Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Winnipeg Clinic.
Why is it important to take five minutes out of your day to get tested? Because it could save your life, according to Dr. Leslea Walters.
“HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection,” Walters said, adding that it’s responsible for cancers such as cervical cancer which are preventable through screening tests.
“The pap test … that doesn’t have to be terrible and can be over in a few minutes, that is the screening test that we use to look for early changes related to HPV on the cervix.”
One option is going to your family doctor to get a pap test done, but Walters wants people to know there are other clinics that are open to do the check, especially during HPV awareness week.
“For people who have a cervix between the age of 21 and 69, it’s recommended to have a pap test every three years,” Walters said.
“If the result is normal, it’s every three years, if the result is abnormal, the frequency of testing for surveillance can be increased and treatment can be offered if the HPV virus is not getting under control.”
Dr. Walters said once you have the virus, you always do, but you don’t always have abnormal changes related to it.
“If you are infected, the changes can last forever and can lead to something worse, or your immune system can take care of it … that’s why the monitoring, every three years is so important.”
Some forms of HPV can be prevented with a vaccine which you can speak with your doctor about.
The HPV vaccines are also being offered at 425 St. Mary Avenue on Wednesday. Walk-ins are welcome. You can book an appointment by calling 204-957-3280.
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