New HPV Guidelines

ACOG has not commented on the new guidelines so pap frequency discretion could be different with your AOA provider.

The HPV vaccine is not without controversy, however ‘a new study suggests that the vaccine against human papillomavirus can significantly cut the likelihood of virus-related disease even among women who have had surgery for cervical cancer caused by HPV,’ according to the New York Times. There have been many studies over the years regarding the HPV vaccine, however this new study also takes a look at how the vaccine affects those who have had an HPV-related infection in the past.

During the study, of the women who received the HPV vaccine, 46 percent were ‘less likely to suffer subsequent HPV-related disease.’ And for those who had a bout with HPV-related infections in the past, the HPV vaccine reduced their overall risk for future bouts by 64 percent.

Experts not involved with the research told ABC News that the research is significant because it suggests for the first time that the HPV vaccine may offer benefits beyond prevention, according to

HPV-Related Cancers

On a related note, the HPV virus in relation to head and neck cancers is rising in the United States, which is another reason why the above study is so important. As we find out more and more about the importance of getting the HPV vaccine for prevention benefits, we are also well aware of the fact that the human papillomavirus contributes to a great many other illnesses and cancers.

In January, a study was published documenting the ability for the HPV vaccine to reduce the recurrence of abnormal cell growths in men, directly correlating with this recent study out of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and its findings. According to the study, the incidence of head and neck cancers related to the human papillomavirus (HPV) is rising in the United States, with the greatest increase among middle-aged white men.

About HPV

Over 6 million men and women in the United States become infected with HPV every year, and according to the Centers for Disease Control about 20 million people are currently infected. HPV comes in many forms, over 40 different strains in fact, many of which clear up on their own. However, HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 can lead to many health issues, including genital warts, cervical cancer and many other forms of cancer including head and neck cancers.

Recently new screening guidelines were released (from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force):

  • Women aged 21 to 65 should get Pap tests no more than every three years; previous guidelines, issued in 2003, recommended that women be screened “at least” every three years, allowing for annual screens
  • Women aged 30 to 65 may extend the interval between screens to five years if they use HPV tests in conjunction with the Pap test; the HPV test should not be used in younger women because many of them will have HPV infection that they will naturally clear without treatment
  • Women under 21 should not be screened for cervical cancer, regardless of sexual history; previous advice recommended that women begin cervical cancer screening within three years of becoming sexually active
  • Women over 65 should not be screened, as long as they have had consistently normal Pap tests and are not at high risk for cervical cancer

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For more information on the HPV vaccine, HPV-related issues and complications, or any other questions you might have regarding STD’s, please contact us.