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Pap smears and cervical cancer vaccinations in Kenya

Pap smear is a test famously known as pap test around cervical cancer in women. Here the cervix assessed from the narrow and lower end of vagina. The cervix is the opening of the uterus.

Pap smears

Looking pap smear in Kenya and cervical cancer services? So long as you are 21 years plus, getting these services is recommended and easy. Read more on what our gynaecologists expert suggests.

What is a pap smear?

Pap smears are tests carried out on women and is a test whose primary function is to check up(screen) for cervical cancer. It does this by review of the cells that are infected by the Human Papilloma Virus HPV. It can pick sometimes other vaginal infections. The HPV virus is transmitted through genital contact and is the most common sexually transmitted infection

When can it be done?

It is done usually ten days after a menstrual period. It can be done in pregnancy. It should not be done if one is having bleeding or heavy infected vaginal discharge or even after sex. Those who have had the whole womb removed by surgery do not require a pap smear. It is recommended that virgins should mention that they are virgins before a pap smear is requested. Any woman regardless of sexual orientation requires a pap smear.


It is done usually in a gynaecologist’s office and is usually not painful though there are occasions slight discomfort is felt when performing the sample collection.

It is usually a 2 minute procedure that involves visualization of the cervix using a plastic speculum (metal speculums are too cold) and use of a cytobrush (a tool that looks like a tooth brush with soft bristles). The specimen collected is then taken to the laboratory where a qualified cytologist/pathologist reviews the specimen after processing. This is why a Pap tests report usually takes 3-4 days to be reported.

How often do you need a pap smear?

Pap tests are important especially in our Kenyan society especially because of the rising cases of cervical cancer seen in our population. They are to be repeated every two years from time of sexual debut. If one has 3 consistent normal results then the tests can be done every 3-5 years. Ladies with other conditions like HIV/ diabetes or strong family history of cancer or prior history of precancerous changes noted in their cervix need to repeat the smears yearly.

Vaccination against cervical cancer: Usually after a normal Pap smear result we recommend vaccination against cervical cancer. This vaccine is usually given at 0 months then after a month then after 6 months. It usually protects against cancer (prevention rate 98%) and some variants of the vaginal warts. It is recommended to persons between the ages of 9(our daughters) to 35. It can be given to those who are not sexually active. If you have been diagnosed as having the HPV infection, one can still get vaccinated against cervical cancer.

What about men?

Bring them too to the offices. We can vaccinate the men against the virus as they too can get warts and can suffer from anogenital cancer caused by the HPV. There is no pap smear done on men however.

Please consult with your gynaecologist on further matters or contact us through Velvet health clinic.

Frequently asked questions about pap smears and cervical cancer vaccinations

Do you need a pap smear if not sexually active?

You can start to have pap smear when you are 21 years old.

Do abnormal pap smear results take longer?

It can take a few weeks or few days.

Pap smear in Kenya is a procedure where a small brush is used to gently remove cervical cells. They are observed under a microscope. Ask for help from our women clinic today.

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