While women with negative pap and HPV tests are known to be at very low risk of having cervical pre-cancer or cancer, the risk associated with a single HPV positive test result in women over 30 remains unclear.
A few recent studies in older women show that HPV detection increases around the age of menopause.
Experts are uncertain whether women over 30 with a single positive HPV test have a persistent infection or a new infection.
Experts disagree as to whether HPV infection clears or persists in an undetectable state until immunity is weakened due to things like illness, stress, or hormone changes.
As more women over 30 are tested for HPV, greater understanding of HPV infection during the perimenopausal transition is needed to provide a solid basis for counseling women in this age group with regard to HPV infection and cervical cancer risk.