Key Feature 4: Establish office policies and practices to ensure patient comfort and choice, especially with sensitive examinations (ex: positioning for Pap, chaperones for genital/rectal exams).
Although many people think this test is synonymous with STI testing, it is completely not the same thing; the Papanicolaou (aka Pap) test examines purely for cervical cancer. Guidelines have been changing almost every other year it seems like. At the time of writing this blog, the Canadian national screening consensus is to begin Pap screening at the age of 25 (sooner if the patient has risk factors) and to screen every 3 years until the age of 69. There's no absolute contraindication to every doing this test per se, though the results may not be as accurate if there is current infection of the vaginitis, cervix, or pelvic inflammatory disease (so is in fact ideally NOT done when there is suspicion for an STI), or if the woman is menstruating. Not that if the bleeding is not a regular menstrual bleed but rather abnormal vaginal bleeding, obtaining a Pap would be important as a diagnostic as opposed to screening tool and would thus be indicated for that purpose.
Anatomy of a cervix