Key Points About the digene HPV Test
HPV Test is the leading test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that directly detects the presence of high-risk types of the HPV virus. When used along with a Pap to screen women 30 and older, it more accurately identifies who is at risk of developing cervical cancer than the Pap alone. Here's why:
- The Pap test (or Pap smear) has helped diagnose many women with cervical cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. A trained lab professional looks through a microscope at a sample of your cervical cells to determine if any abnormalities are present that could signal the presence of disease.
- The digene HPV Test – which can usually be run by the lab on the same sample of cells used for the Pap – uses molecular technology to detect the presence of high-risk types of HPV, which is what causes cervical cells to become abnormal in the first place.
- For women over 30 years old, who are most at risk of cervical cancer, getting both tests provides the best assurance of finding cervical disease before it becomes cancer. Studies show that, on average, the combination of the digene HPV Test and the Pap identifies 95-100 percent of advanced cervical disease (CIN 2, CIN 3, or cancer). It is important to remember, however, that the presence of HPV does not mean you have cervical disease. An additional exam is needed to determine whether disease exists.
- It is recommended that younger women (20-30), in whom HPV infections are common but usually temporary, get an HPV test only if their Pap smear looks "inconclusive" or "borderline," to help their doctor or nurse determine whether further examination is needed.