Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Will HPV Screening Replace Pap Tests?

January 26th, 2010 by Elizabeth Kissling

Photo of two women in medical consult.Researchers in Italy have recently completed a study comparing the effectiveness of DNA testing for HPV (human papillomavirus) to the commonly used Pap smear for detecting cervical cancer. Their findings suggest that more cases of cervical cancer can be prevented with HPV testing than with the conventional Pap smear, especially for women over 35.

There are, however, some disadvantages to using DNA tests to detect HPV. For example, the test is less specific, which means that there are more false positives in the results. This means more women have to return for further testing. In practice, HPV screening has a callback rate of about 25-30%, compared to a callback rate of about 5-7% for Pap smears, according to Dr. Mark Einstein, a gynecologic oncologist and director of clinical research at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Health News Review points out that although the HPV test is more effective in the sense that it prevents invasive cervical cancer by detecting persistent high-grade lesions earlier and providing a longer low-risk period for older women, replacing Pap smears with it is not necessarily more cost-effective for patients, given the costs of the additional colposcopies that result from the higher callback rate from HPV testing.

3 responses to “Will HPV Screening Replace Pap Tests?”

  1. Thank you for this post. Perhaps HPV screening should not replace Pap smears –
    however it should be mandated prior to receiving the HPV vaccines. FDA documents
    state that if a woman already has HPV AND receives the vaccine it will result
    in a 44.6% higher incidence rate of getting cervical cancer. Indeed many girls who
    have had the vaccine are now reporting abnormal paps (cervical lesions and
    cervical cancer) two years after inoculation.

    The McGill Tribune in Canada just released the results of a “one-of-a-kind
    international study” on January 19 – stating that “HPV(is)found in over 50% of
    young adults in new sexual relationships.”

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Emily Heroy and re:Cycling, re:Cycling. re:Cycling said: New post at re:Cycling – Will HPV Screening Replace Pap Tests? […]

  3. I feel compelled to back up my post regarding the need for HPV screening prior to
    administration of the HPV vaccine. This list of 274 reports of abnormal pap
    smears post vaccination is on the National Vaccine Information Center site.
    I also posted then information to my site. (My url is shorter than theirs so
    it is posted here – but you can get directly to their site from my blog.)

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