HPV Testing in Screening Programme Saves Women From Unnecessary Tests
28 September 2011- Testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) as part of cervical screening reduces the number of women unnecessarily going on for further tests by over a third.
Samples from 10,000 women in the NHS Cervical Screening Programme whose first smear test had shown mild or borderline abnormalities were then tested for the cervical cancer-causing virus.
According to an analysis led by the ICR, around 35 per cent of the women (3,581) tested HPV negative and were able to return to routine screening without any further testing. Women with a positive HPV test result were then referred for a colposcopy (internal examination) without having to go through further smear tests.
The pilot project of HPV testing for borderline or mildly abnormal cytology tests began in 2007 at six laboratories, and is now being rolled out across England.