Frequently asked questions and the answers about the cervival cancer screening program on Bonaire.

If you have never had sexual contact, there is little chance of HPV infection. The risk of a precancerous stage or cervical cancer is then very low. If you still want to have a swab test, tell the doctor’s assistant that you are a virgin. The doctor’s assistant can take this into account at the screening test by using a smaller speculum.

No. The doctor or nurse uses a speculum, which does not extend beyond the vagina. So the uterus cannot be damaged. 

HPV is the abbreviation of Human Papilloma Virus. It is the virus that can cause cervical cancer. 

Yes, HPV is transmitted through sex. The virus is highly contagious: 80 of every 100 sexually active men and women become infected with the virus. This means that 80 percent of these men and women will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives. The virus is almost always cleared by the body on its own.

You will not notice if you're infected with HPV. You will not get any complaints. 

You can get infected with HPV by having sex or sexual contact with someone who is infected. The virus is on and around the penis or vagina. The virus can also spread to other places during sex. For example on the hands and in the mouth.

You cannot avoid getting infected. You can reduce the chance a lot by using a condom. The chance that you will become infected during sex is then 70% smaller.

Your body almost always clears the virus itself. It takes 1 to 2 years for the body to get rid of the virus completely. Sometimes your body cannot clear the virus properly. You will then remain infected for a longer time and you have a greater chance of developing cervical cancer.

No, there are no medicines for HPV. Your body has to clear the infection on its own.

Usually, the body clears HPV within 2 years. There is no medication or treatment to clear up the HPV. The chance of HPV leading to cervical cancer is less than 1%.

If the cells in the cervix change, you may experience the following symptoms over time:

  • bleeding during or immediately after sex
  • postmenopausal bleeding, for example if you have not had a period for over a year
  • bleeding between periods
  • abnormal vaginal discharge

No,  that is not possible. If there is blood in the swab test, it cannot be examined properly.

If you've had surgery on your uterus, you may not need to participate. This depends on whether your cervix has also been removed. If you still have a cervix, a swab test is useful. If you are in doubt, please ask your doctor.

Yes, you can also get cervical cancer after the menopause. You will receive an invitation for the cervical cancer screening up to and including the age of 60.

If you are pregnant or have just given birth, it is better not to participate in the screening. A swab test during pregnancy can sometimes lead to discomfort such as blood loss and if you have no complaints, it is better to postpone it until after the pregnancy. 
If you have any complaints, such as unusual discharge or bleeding immediately after sex, please contact your doctor. The doctor can then make a swab test. This can also be done during pregnancy and is not harmful. 
You can participate in the cervical cancer screening from 6 weeks after the birth.

We recommend you to contact your doctor. 

When HPV-viral cells are not cleared by the body this may develop in abnormal cells and possibly into cervical cancer. This usually takes 10 to 15 years. Research has shown that having a swab for screening every year is not necessary.