Get a Wellness Visit Anually

Wellness visits are like physical exams, but they aren’t always “physical.” These visits include talking about well-being and answering questions you have about your preventive health (e.g., cholesterol, physical activity, substance use, etc.). During your wellness visit, your height, weight, and blood pressure will be checked1. You may be asked to undress; however, this depends on the exams to which you consent.

Starting at age 21, wellness visits may include a Pap test (aka Pap smear)2 for people with a cervix. A Pap test is a test used to detect the presence of abnormal cells on the cervix that could lead to cervical cancer. Pap tests find cellular changes caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). During a Pap test, a provider uses a speculum to separate the walls of the vagina and collects a small sample of cells from the cervix (the donut-shaped tissue that connects the vagina to the uterus). These cells are then sent to a lab for analysis. Pap tests only take a few minutes. Although Pap tests may be uncomfortable, they should not hurt.

It is important to note that abnormal Pap test results mean there may be abnormal cell changes in your cervix, but that does not always mean a person has cervical cancer.

Prevention and Pelvic Health Go Hand-in-hand

Wellness visits serve as a way for you to learn more about your body and be proactive in taking care of yourself, even if you feel healthy. Furthermore, seeing your provider for your annual wellness visit will help you to build a relationship with your provider.

Added bonus: wellness visits are usually covered by insurance once per year (but charges may apply for screening tests). Contact your insurance company if you have questions about your benefits or need help locating a provider that takes your insurance.

If you have SHIP, the cost of an annual wellness visit is covered at the Student Health & Wellness Center. Students who do not have SHIP can still be seen at the Student Health & Wellness Center, but all charges will be billed to their student accounts.

Building a Trusting Relationship With Your Provider Is Vital

Receiving care from a provider who you trust is a key component in taking care of your pelvic health, because it will allow you to feel more comfortable asking questions and addressing your concerns. If you feel as though your provider does not meet your needs, do not be afraid to switch to a different provider with whom you are more comfortable.

If you are LGBTQIA+ and are looking for a knowledgeable provider, check out this LGBTQIA+ Health Resource Map, created by UC Davis Health, or the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

If you wish to file a complaint, compliment or suggestion, or feel your rights* have not been respected, or you can:

  • Complete a Comments form and deposit in one of the locked comment boxes at Student Health and Counseling (SHCS) Services.
  • Contact the SHCS Quality Management Office at 530-754-7163

What Happens at Your Visit Is up to You and Your Provider

Consent is the foundation of your visit, and consent should be continuously established throughout your visit. In addition, what happens at your wellness visit(s) depends on your unique needs or concerns.

Below is a list of topics that your provider may perform and/or discuss with you during your wellness visit3:

  • Birth control counseling
  • STI/HIV screening
  • Vaccines and immunizations (such as the HPV and flu vaccine)
  • Cancer screenings
  • Issues with your menstrual cycle
  • Concerns about sex
  • Health screenings
  • Pap test