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At 51, I am dealing with a high risk HPV positive test (and a new partner) but PAP looked normal. Could there be bad cells inside cervix not showing up on Pap? Also, why would Dr. only advise another PAP and not a colposcopy?

By January 17, 2011 - 8:24am
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I previously had cervical dysplasia at age 37 and needed a concoscopy.

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Dr.Sarrel, thank you for the most informed response. My Gyn said to wait until a year for HPV, Pap retesting. But I feel like I want a colposcopy now. I am single Mother of a young child and need to stay on top of this. Within the last 2 yrs( menopausal also) I have had weight loss (12lbs) with neck, back pain so know some of these symptoms are not good. Any input is informative.

February 2, 2011 - 11:56am
HERWriter Guide (reply to laurena)

laurena - The decision on this is yours to make. Hopefully the information we've provided has been helpful, but ultimately it is your body and your life, and your decision. We wish you the best. Pat

February 2, 2011 - 5:08pm

Laurena, Dr. Philip Sarrel, the founder of the Yale Menopause Program and the Yale Sex Counseling Service, also had a response to your question. Here's what he had to say:

A positive HPV test (human papillomavirus) is very common and most
infections are transient. About 25% are persistent and call for more
detailed analysis. A pap smear is always done and if negative even with
a positive HPV the recommendations for follow-up are to repeat the smear at 6 to 12 month intervals. About 4% of the smears eventually turn positive.
Cancer of the cervix is the major health risk associated with some types of papilloma virus.
A 51 year old with a positive HPV is usually assumed to be a situation
of persistent infection and does call for a colposcopy (microscopic
examination of the cervix). Because HPV results so often turn negative, it is not unreasonable for the physician to hold off recommending colposcopy until after another set of HPV and smear tests.
If you think the positive test is a result of infection from your new
partner, that would be even more reason to wait for a repeat set of
tests. If the HPV has been present in the past then it makes sense to
ask for colposcopy now.

January 19, 2011 - 9:07am
HERWriter Guide

laurena - Your question was answered here.

January 17, 2011 - 6:52pm

Hello Laurena and thanks for your question. We have submitted your question to one of our experts in gynecology and hope to have an answer for you in the next day or two.

You may find the following videos and articles helpful:


Thanks so much for your question.

January 17, 2011 - 9:27am
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