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Cervical Cancer Screening with the HPV Test and the Pap Test in Women Ages 30 and Older

HPV and Pap Test Results

If Your HPV Test Is Negative (Normal), and Your…

Pap Test Is Normal

This means

  • You are very unlikely to have HPV in your cervix.
  • Your cervical cells are normal.
  • You have a very low chance of getting cervical cancer in the next few years.

You should

  • Wait 5 years before being tested again.
  • Ask your doctor when to come in for your next visit.

Pap Test Is Unclear (ASC-US)

This means

  • You do not have HPV, but your Pap test was unclear.
  • Even if you do have cell changes, it is unlikely that they are caused by HPV.

You should ask your doctor when to come in for your next visit.

Pap Test Is Abnormal

This means

  • Your Pap test found abnormal cells.
  • Your HPV test did not find HPV.
  • It’s important to find out why the two tests are showing different things.

Your doctor may take a closer look at your cervix (called a colposcopyA method your doctor can use to magnify the cervix to see any abnormal cells using an instrument called a colposcope. It is very similar to having your Pap test.) to find out if your cells are abnormal and/or treat you right away.

If Your HPV Test Is Positive (Abnormal), and Your…

Pap Test Is Normal

This means

  • Your cervical cells are normal, but you have HPV.
  • You may fight off HPV naturally and never get cell changes. Or you may not fight off HPV, and HPV could cause cell changes in the future.
  • Most women fight off HPV within 2 years. It is not known why most women fight off HPV and some do not.

You should get another Pap and HPV test in 1 year. Cell changes happen slowly. Some time must pass before your doctor can tell if HPV will go away or cause cell changes.

Pap Test Is Unclear (ASC-US)

This means

  • You have HPV, but your Pap test was unclear.

Your doctor will

  • Take a closer look at your cervix (called a colposcopy) to find out if your cells are abnormal.
  • Your doctor may need to either remove the abnormal cells or monitor them to make sure they do not get worse.

Pap Test Is Abnormal

This means

  • You have HPV.
  • Your cervical cells are abnormal.
  • This does not usually mean you have cancer.

Your doctor will

  • Take a closer look at your cervix to find out if your cells are abnormal and how serious the cell changes are.
  • Your doctor may need to remove the abnormal cells to make sure they do not get worse.
 
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