HPV Screening Every Five Years Equal to Pap Smear Every Three Years

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Am Fam Physician. 2014 Jun 1;89(11):907-912.

Clinical Question

Is screening for human papillomavirus (HPV) an effective approach to identifying women at low risk of cervical cancer?

Bottom Line

A single HPV test provides the same degree of protection over five years as a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear does for three years. We may soon see a recommendation for HPV testing as a stand-alone screen, with cytology reserved for women who have an HPV-positive result. We may also be able to extend the screening interval to at least five years. (Level of Evidence = 1b)


This analysis comes from the Swedescreen

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by Essential Evidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley- Blackwell. For more information, please see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP, search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at http://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.

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