PAP And HPV Testing At Same Time Gets Preventive Services Task Force Support

By Denise Espie |Published Thursday, April 12, 2012



Washington, D.C, April 12, 2012 - In March 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced the latest recommendations on screening for cervical cancer. A major change is a new recommendation of using HPV testing every 5 years for women age 30 and older.

In the draft recommendations, released in October 2011, the USPSTF said there was “insufficient evidence” to support HPV testing along with Pap tests. This draft recommendation was reversed after a major push by organizations, medical professionals and other key opinion leaders, as well as a review of the most recent scientific studies.

“The Imperative is very pleased that the USPSTF recommendations support HPV screening in combination with Pap tests,” said Eleanor Hinton Hoytt, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. “The number of deaths due to cervical cancer is largely a result of women not being screened. All women need access to appropriate and improved screening methods. HPV co-testing is a proven reliable screening tool and will help in the early detection of cervical cancer.”

The revised USPSTF recommendation will help expand access to HPV co-testing under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Medicaid patients. The ACA provides an incentive for state Medicaid programs to cover services which the USPSTF has found good evidence that the service improves important health outcomes, such as HPV co-testing.

The recommendations also advise against screening for women younger than 21 years. Instead, the USPSTF recommends women age 21 to 65 should get a Pap test no more than every three years. This differs from the USPSTF’s previous recommendations that women should get screened within three years of the onset of sexual activity. The Imperative will monitor the effect of this recommendation on sexually active women younger than 21.

To view the USPSTF summary of cervical cancer screening recommendations, click here.