Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing appears to have a greater sensitivity for the detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia when compared with conventional Pap testing, according to a Canadian randomised controlled trial. Both tests were performed in a randomly assigned sequence on 10 154 women aged 30 to 69 years presenting for cervical screening. Participants with a positive Pap or HPV screening test were referred for colposcopy, as were a proportion of those with negative tests. HPV testing was more sensitive by 39.2% and only 2.7% less specific than Pap testing for the detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grades 2 or 3. The authors note that testing for HPV has entered a new era, with the introduction of HPV vaccines changing how women will be tested in the future. They suggest that the HPV DNA test may prove useful in screening those women who undergo screening less frequently.
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