It’s OK to skip an annual pap test if your pap smears have always been normal—but this doesn’t mean you should skip your annual well woman exam. If you’re age 30 or younger, you can have a pap smear every 3 years as long as your results remain normal. If you’re older than age 30, you can have a pap every 3 years with the HPV test.
In most cases, cervical cancer is rare in young women and is very slow growing. It’s important to see your OB/GYN provider every year even though you may not need a pap. The annual visit is a time to discuss contraception, any health complaints or concerns that you may have, refill prescriptions, and of course have a breast and pelvic exam. If you have had an abnormal pap in the past, ask your healthcare provider how often you should be retested.