‘Ri Teref-Ta APRN-CNM, MSN The pap smear is a screening test done during a well woman exam that checks for precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. Recently, guidelines have changed about how often a woman should have this screening test. Until the early 2000’s, it was not know what caused cervical cancer and the recommendation was for every woman to get a pap smear every year. Once it was discovered that HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is responsible for 99% of all cervical cancers, the recommendation changed to start pap smear testing 1 yr after becoming sexually active and every year thereafter until age 30. At age 30, a woman.