HPV tests are now recommended as part of regular cervical cancer screening, along with the Pap test, in women over 30 years of age.
We now know that infection with a high risk type of human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes nearly all cervical cancers.
The HPV test is a genetic test capable of identifying the DNA of about 13 strains of the human papillomavirus or HPV, including the “high risk” strains that cause cervical cancer.
New technology allows Pap and HPV testing to be performed from a single sample.
Where Pap smears test for abnormal cell changes that can progress to cancer over time, an HPV test employs molecular technology to detect the HPV virus that causes those abnormal cell changes.
Studies have shown that testing for HPV is a more effective way to screen for potential cervical cancer.
Women who have normal Pap and negative HPV test results can be assured that their risk of developing cervical cancer or pre-cancerous conditions is approximately one in 1,000 in the next 5 – 10 years.