Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is now following the new cervical cancer screening guidelines set by the American Cancer Society:
Starting at age 25, people with a cervix should get an HPV test every 5 years. Previously, it was recommended that people starting at age 21 get screened through a Pap test.
Why are we changing from using a Pap test to using an HPV test?
Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of HPV (Human Papillomavirus), the most common STD. HPV is usually harmless and goes away by itself, but at least 24 types of HPV can last and sometimes lead to cervical cancer. These are called "high-risk" HPV. Using an HPV test allows us to look for these high-risk types of HPV and abnormal changes, and treat it before cancer develops.