The HPV Test: Why It's Important
September 1, 2013 - 12:00am
Human Papilloma Virus, aka HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US. It’s called an infection, rather than your standard STD (sexually transmitted disease), because on it’s own, it may not ever develop into a disease. In fact, in most women, HPV infections go away or don’t require treatment at all. On the other hand, cervical cancer is just one of the diseases that has been directly linked to HPV, so knowing the facts could save your life, or the life of someone you love. HPV testing is simple, reliable and easily available through your doctor; all you have to do is ask.
The HPV Test: Who should get it?
- If you are under 30, you don’t yet need routine HPV testing. However, check with your doctor or nurse to make sure he or she will instruct the lab to automatically do the HPV test if your Pap result is inconclusive or abnormal.
- If you are over 30, most experts now recommend that you get an HPV test whether or not your Pap is normal. While most doctors are automatically ordering an HPV test for women age 30-65, not all will. So, it's important to ask what tests you are receiving.
- The decision to get an HPV test is one you can make for yourself. If you have decided you want the test after reviewing this Web site and other information, but your doctor or nurse says it’s not necessary, you CAN say you still want it. At the very least, you get “extra peace of mind”, and you’ll be taking an active role in cervical cancer prevention for the future.
- Whatever your age, make sure that you are informed of all of your test results. Don’t assume that no news is good news!
What is an HPV test?
The digene 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: