Ask the Doctor
February 19, 2013

Should I do regular pap-smears after an HPV vaccination?

Dear Doc,

Whilst at university in the US we were offered a vaccination to prevent cervical cancer. Does that mean I don’t need regular pap-smears?{{more}}


Dear Tesha,

The answer to your question is YES you have to continue your pap-smears. The HPV is a virus that has a strong link to cervical cancer. There are hundreds of different strains of the virus that humans can be infected with. The strains of the virus that has the greatest association with cervical cancer are Nos. 16, 18 and 32. The vaccines that are now available give protection from the strains that have the greatest risk. The vaccines do not protect you from all the strains of viruses.

There are situations where cancer of the cervix has no link to the HPV. Cancers can develop in any living tissue of the body, due to multiple reasons.

This is likened to a situation where we lock our doors to our home before leaving on a trip, but we still ask our neighbour to keep an eye on our property.

We are happy to know that there is progress in the fight against cervical cancers, but these are early days. We have to still continue our pap-smears to find any suspicious changes that can be caused by other factors.


SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.