Everything to Know About STIs and the Pap Smear Test

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Let’s be honest: Talking about sexually transmitted infections isn’t super fun. Even less of a hoot? The thought of going for STI tests, like a Pap smear—especially when it’s your first time. From that scary-looking contraption to myths around pain, it can be pretty frightening. But regular STI testing, including a Pap test, is also essential to your health.

Speaking with doctors for this story, I was shocked when I discovered that most Canadians under the age of 30 will contract a strain of the HPV virus that can cause cervical cancer, often without knowledge. HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is the most commonly transmitted STI (and is common in both men and women). It was even more surprising to learn, thanks to a 2017 report from the Government of Canada, that some sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, have been…

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