Many Women's Clinics Provide Low-Cost or Free Pap Smears (2023)

When cancer cells grow in the lining of the cervix, it's called cervical cancer. The most common cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV). Screening tests, such as Pap smears and HPV testing, can help identify abnormal cells on the cervix and diagnose HPV. Cervical cancer screening also reduces the risk of getting cervical cancer, in addition to leading to higher cure rates for invasive cervical cancer.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of health insurance or financial challenges, many women avoid having regular ​Pap smears.​ However, there are government and nonprofit programs that can assist people with getting routine cervical cancer screening.

This article will review how to get Pap smears at low to no cost.

Many Women's Clinics Provide Low-Cost or Free Pap Smears (1)

Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines

Cervical cancer screening involves undergoing a Pap smear and HPV testing. During a Pap test, cells from the cervix are collected by your healthcare provider. This sample of cells can also be tested for HPV.

The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines are widely used. According to these guidelines, you should start screening at age 21.

  • Ages 21-29: Pap test every 3 years.
  • Ages 30-65: Either Pap testing every 3 years, Pap smear and HPV test every 5 years, or HPV test every 5 years

In 2020, the American Cancer Society updated its screening guidelines for people at average risk of developing cervical cancer.

These include:

  • At age 25, women should have an initial primary HPV test (an approved test for high-risk strains), an HPV test with a Pap smear (co-testing), or a Pap smear alone.
  • For those with normal results, an HPV test or co-testing should be repeated every five years until age 65. (If only a Pap smear was performed, it should be repeated every three years.)
  • Testing may stop at age 65 in people who have had no significant abnormalities within the last 25 years and have had negative screening tests for the previous 10 years.

Additional testing and procedures may be needed for those with abnormal screening tests with risk factors such as HIV or who are taking immunosuppressive drugs.

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program is a federally funded program that provides cervical cancer screening to eligible women.

You might be eligible for a free or low-cost Pap smear if:

  • You have no insurance, or your insurance doesn't fully cover screening exams
  • You are between the ages of 21 to 64
  • Your yearly income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level

In addition, people who fall outside of those age ranges may also qualify based on risk factors.

Low-Cost and Free Pap Smear Clinics

Local county health departments and women's clinics offer free and low-cost Pap smears. For the uninsured, the cost of the test is often based on income level.

Your local Planned Parenthood may also offer low-cost Pap smears. Planned Parenthood is an organization that offers sexual and reproductive health care to individuals, regardless of income.

You can find your local Planned Parenthood clinic by visiting their website or calling (800) 230-PLAN.

Finding a Test Center

If you need low-cost or free cervical cancer screening, check out the below resources or visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to find a participating healthcare facility near you.


Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(334) 206-3905

(Video) Check Up 13: Free Pap smears available to women


Breast and Cervical Health Check
(800) 410-6266 (in state)
(907) 269-3491 (outside of state)

American Samoa

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
011 (684) 633-2135


Well Woman Healthcheck Program
(602) 542-1001


BreastCare Program
(877) 670-2273


Cancer Detection Programs: Every Woman Counts
(916) 449-5300


Colorado Women's Cancer Control Initiative
(866) 692-2600
(303) 692-2600 (in state)


Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
(860) 509-7804


Screening for Life
(888) 459-2943

District of Columbia

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(202) 442-5900
(888) 833-9474


Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
(404) 657-6611


Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(850) 245-4455
(617) 735-7174


Hawaii Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
(808) 692-7460


Women's Health Check
(800) 926-2588


Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
(888) 522-1282


Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(317) 234-1356
(800) 433-0746


Care for Yourself
(800) 369-2229


Early Detection Works
(877) 277-1368


Kentucky Women's Cancer Screening Program
(502) 564-7996 Ext. 3821


Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program
(888) 599-1073

(Video) Why are annual Pap smears no longer necessary? | VERIFY


Breast and Cervical Health Program
(800) 350-5180 (in state)


Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program
(800) 477-9774


Women’s Health Network
(877) 414-4447


Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program
(800) 922-MAMM


SAGE Screening Program
(888) 643-2584


Mississippi Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(800) 721-7222


Show Me Healthy Women Program
(573) 522-2845


Breast and Cervical Health Program
(888) 803-9343


Every Woman Matters Program
(402) 471-0929 (in Lincoln)
(800) 532-2227 (outside Lincoln)


Women's Health Connection
(888) 463-8942 (in state)
(775) 684-5936 (outside of state)

New Hampshire

Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
(603) 271-4628

New Jersey

Cancer Education and Early Detection Program
(800) 328-3838

New Mexico

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(505) 222-8603
(877) 852-2585

New York

Cancer Services Program
(800) 4-CANCER
(800) ACS-2345

North Carolina

Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program
(800) 4-CANCER (in state)
(919) 715-0111 (outside of state)

North Dakota

Women's Way Program
(800) 449-6636 (in state)
(701) 328-2333 (outside of state)


Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Project
(800) 4-CANCER


Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(888) 669-5934


Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
(971) 673-0984

(Video) Pap Smears Guidelines


Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(800) 4-CANCER

Puerto Rico

Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Program
(787) 274-3300

Republic of Palau

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
011 (680) 488-4612

Rhode Island

Women's Cancer Screening Program
(401) 222-5960

South Carolina

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(800) 227-2345

South Dakota

All Women Count!
(800) 738-2301(in state)


Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(615) 532-8494


Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program
(512) 458-7796


Utah Cancer Control Program
(801) 538-6712


Ladies First
(800) 508-2222 1 (800) 319-3141 (TDD)


Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(800) ACS-2345 (in state)
(804) 786-5916 (outside of state)


Washington Breast and Cervical Health Program
(888) 438-2247

West Virginia

Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program
(800) 4-CANCER


Well Woman Program
(608) 266-8311


Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
(800) 264-1296

Getting Your Results

It can take up to three weeks to receive your Pap smear results. The following are three possible findings of your test:

  • Negative/Normal: The cells from your cervix look normal.
  • Unclear/Uniquivocol: The pathologist (a specialist who studies body tissue) could not determine if your cervical cells were normal or abnormal. Your healthcare provider may do more testing or have you return in six months for another Pap smear.
  • Positive/Abnormal: A positive result means the cells from your cervix look abnormal. This does not mean you have cancer, but additional tests may be needed to gather more information. For example, colposcopy and cervical biopsy may be helpful.

The combination of the results of the cells (pap smear) and HPV will help your doctor determine what next steps are needed, such as whether you need a procedure like a colposcopy or when your next pap smear is due. The determination of when your next pap smear is due depends on the results of your current pap smear/HPV test, as well as taking into account the results of any abnormal pap smears in the recent past.

Although HPV is not curable, some strains will naturally resolve within two years. Since HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it's important to practice safer sex while you are positive for the virus.

You will likely receive a letter if your test results are normal. If your test results are abnormal, your healthcare provider or nurse will call you with the next steps. However, be sure to contact your healthcare provider if you don't receive your results or have any questions.

(Video) Check Up 13 - Free Pap Smear


Cervical cancer is treatable and curable if caught early. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer. Pap smears and HPV testing help find abnormal cells on the cervix and diagnose HPV. Unfortunately, many people do not have the resources to undergo routine cervical cancer screening. However, several programs help connect you to low-cost or free Pap smears and HPV testing.

A Word From Verywell

Research shows that proper screening identifies about 97% of cervical cancer at a precancerous stage. The best way to prevent HPV is to be vaccinated against it. It is recommended that everyone between ages 9 and 26 receive the vaccine. Anyone between 27 and 45 who hasn't been vaccinated is still eligible to receive the vaccine and the decision is made on an individual basis. You should still undergo routine cervical cancer screening if you've been vaccinated. Ask your healthcare provider if you are eligible to receive the HPV vaccine.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much is a Pap smear without insurance?

    Depending on your state, a Pap smear with a pelvic exam can cost between $121-$247.

  • Can you do a Pap smear on your own?

    A Pap smear must be done by a healthcare provider. There are at-home HPV tests available, but they are not part of any standard practice.

  • What should you not do before a Pap smear?

    In addition to scheduling your test at a time when you aren't having your period, the following should be avoided within two days of a Pap smear:

    • Douching
    • Use of tampons
    • Having sex
    • Using birth control foam, cream, or jelly
    • Using medicine or cream in your vagina

Cervical Cancer Healthcare Provider Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next healthcare provider's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Many Women's Clinics Provide Low-Cost or Free Pap Smears (2)

(Video) Older Women and Reproductive Cancers

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Where can I get a Pap smear for free? ›

Low-Cost and Free Pap Smear Clinics

Planned Parenthood is an organization that offers sexual and reproductive health care to individuals, regardless of income. You can find your local Planned Parenthood clinic by visiting their website or calling (800) 230-PLAN.

How much does a Pap smear cost? ›

The cost of a Pap smear varies but not too much. All in all, it should cost less than $100 with insurance in the United States. If you're paying out of pocket, expect the costs to range from $25 to $150.

Why doesn't Medicare pay for Pap smears? ›

Pap tests are considered a preventative service under Medicare Part B, so you won't pay a coinsurance, copayment or Part B deductible for this test. However, you may have to pay for some or all of the costs of your Pap test if you see a non-Medicare provider or decide to test more frequently than you are eligible.

Is a cervical smear free? ›

Benefits of being in the programme

The programme also helps you by: making screening tests free for those identified as being at greater risk. providing you with information.

Where is the best place to get a Pap smear? ›

Where can I go for a Pap test? You can get a Pap test at your doctor or nurse's office, a community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center.

Can I do my own Pap smear? ›

“Anyone who has ever had a traditional 'pap smear' knows how uncomfortable and off-putting they can be. Now, women can choose to do a test themselves to detect cervical cancer.”

How often is free smear test? ›

If you are aged 25 to 29 years, you should be screened every 3 years. If you are aged 30 to 65 years, you should be screened every 5 years. Some people will need to be screened more often. If this applies to you, CervicalCheck will write to you and let you know.

How much does a CervicalCheck cost? ›

The Cervical Screening Test is free for eligible women, however your doctor may charge their standard consultation fee for the appointment. Some doctors, clinics and health centres offer bulk billing, which means there are no out-of-pocket expenses.

Is there a charge for cervical screening? ›

Most women are charged a fee for the test. Some Māori and Pacific providers, community or primary health organisations offer a free or low cost option.

Is it better to go to a gynecologist for a Pap smear? ›

At your annual well-woman visit, your OB/GYN will focus on age-specific screenings for: Cervical cancer, ensuring that Pap smears are up to date. Menstrual disorders. Breast cancer.

What is the difference between a Pap smear and a regular exam? ›

The annual exam is done to check your overall physical health. The Pap smear screens for cervical cancer. A Pap smear may be offered as part of an annual exam. If you have a cervix and have ever been sexually active in any way, you need regular pap smears.

Can you get a Pap smear without a speculum? ›

An obvious solution is to offer HPV (human papillomavirus) testing on self-collected samples. Self-sampling enables women to collect their own sample for cervical screening without a speculum using a vaginal swab or brush. A drawback is the consistent finding that women worry about not self-sampling correctly.

At what age are Pap smears no longer necessary? ›

The only sure way to find out if you have cervical cancer is to get a screening test (a Pap test and/or an HPV test). If you are a woman who has not had her cervix removed by surgery (a hysterectomy), keep getting tested until you are at least 65 years old.

Why do they stop giving Pap smears after 65? ›

Most women are exposed to HPV in the course of normal sexual activity if they've had more than one sexual partner. The reason we don't do Pap tests before age 21 is because the likelihood of someone that young getting cervical cancer is very low. After age 65, the likelihood of having an abnormal Pap test also is low.

Will Medicare pay for Pap after age 65? ›

Your costs in Original Medicare

If your doctor or other health care provider accepts assignment, you pay nothing for the following: the lab Pap test. the lab HPV with Pap test.

What can you do instead of a Pap smear? ›

Exciting new research suggests that a much less invasive approach – the HPV test – may even more accurately screen for cervical cancer risk. And, what's more, sample collection for the HPV test can be done at home by yourself – a major difference between this test and the traditional Pap smear.

Is there an alternative to a smear test? ›

Women who are unwilling to go for a smear test could instead provide a urine sample to be screened for cervical cancer, research published in BMJ Open suggests.

Are Pap smears really necessary? ›

Why might I need a Pap test? A Pap test, along with a pelvic exam, is an important part of your routine healthcare. It can help find abnormal cells that can lead to cancer. Your healthcare provider can find most cancers of the cervix early if you have regular Pap tests and pelvic exams.

Are Pap smears free in Florida? ›

Services are free for those who meet the following criteria: Women ages 50 through 64. Women who do not have health insurance, which will cover the cost of a mammogram, clinical breast exam, pelvic exam/Pap test. Women who are not covered by Medicaid or Medicare.

Does Pap smear test for chlamydia? ›

No. Smear tests (cervical screening) do not test for chlamydia. Cervical screening tests help prevent cervical cancer by checking your cervix (neck of the womb) for abnormal cells or infection with a virus called HPV.

What happens if you never get a Pap smear? ›

We want you to know that your Pap smear is a test that is far too important to skip and doing so means cervical precancerous changes may go undetected until they have reached an advanced stage or turned into cancer.

How much does Pap smear cost for HPV? ›

Procedure/testEstimated cost, US
Pap test$37
HPV test$49
Biopsy (single)$65
2 more rows

How much is a Pap smear without insurance in Florida? ›

How Much Does a Pelvic Exam with Pap Smear Cost? On MDsave, the cost of a Pelvic Exam with Pap Smear in Florida ranges from $125 to $254. Those on high deductible health plans or without insurance can shop, compare prices and save.

Do I have to get a Pap smear if I don't want to? ›

Whether you're sexually active or not, you still need a Pap smear. Most cervical cancers are caused by HPV, which is sexually transmitted. However, not all cervical cancers stem from HPV, so Pap tests are necessary whether you're sexually active or not.

How old do you have to be to get a Pap smear in Florida? ›

Screening Guidelines

Women need their first pap test at the age of 21 regardless of sexual activity. Women need a pap test every three to five years after the first test as long as the test results continue to be normal.

What STD is tested in a Pap smear? ›

Pap tests, also known as Pap smears, look for any cell changes in your cervix, which could lead to cervical cancer. Cell changes are often caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which is an STD. But Pap tests only test for the cell changes, not whether or not you have HPV.

Does HPV show up on STD test? ›

Unfortunately, there is no swab or blood test to test for HPV. A sexual health check at the doctors/clinic (routine check up) is not able to detect skin viruses, HPV or HSV (genital herpes). HPV can be diagnosed only if a person has visible warts on genital skin or if they have an abnormal cervical smear result.

Can Pap smear detect HPV? ›

Pap tests, sometimes called Pap smears, look for abnormal cells on your cervix that can possibly lead to cervical cancer. Pap tests find cell changes caused by high-risk HPV, but they don't test for HPV itself.

Can a gynecologist tell if you're turned on? ›

Another common question is whether a gynecologist can tell if you're sexually active. It's very difficult and sometimes impossible for a health care provider to make this determination without asking you. A pelvic or visual exam usually doesn't offer many clues about sexual activity.

Can you go 5 years without a Pap smear? ›

They can have a Pap test alone every 3 years. Or they can have HPV testing alone every 5 years. After age 65, you can stop having cervical cancer screenings if you have never had abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer, and you've had two or three negative screening tests in a row, depending on the type of test.

At what age can a woman stop seeing a gynecologist? ›

Screenings should begin at age 21 and be repeated every three to five years until age 65, based on previous results.

Does insurance cover HPV? ›

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most private insurance plans to cover some recommended preventive services and ACIP recommended immunizations without consumer cost-sharing. Plans must cover the full charge for the HPV vaccine for the recommended populations, pap tests, and HPV testing for women.

Does HPV go away on its own? ›

In most cases (9 out of 10), HPV goes away on its own within two years without health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer. Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area.

Is HPV test better than Pap smear? ›

Based on a study that included more than one million women, IRP researcher Julia C. Gage, Ph. D., M.P.H. , and colleagues determined that a negative test for HPV infection provides greater safety, or assurance, against future risk of cervical cancer, compared to a negative result from a Pap test.


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