Studies have demonstrated more than 99% of cervical pathology (disease) is linked to the presences of human papillomavirus (HPV).
Therefore the detection of the virus in exfoliated cells in the vagina may prove to be a more efficient way of screening women for pre-cancer cells and invasive cancer than rather than using cytology (conventional pap smear). Samples are obtained by a doctor or clinic nurse using a speculum which are then tested for HPV DNA using standard laboratory procedures.
Although HPV is almost universally acquired by sexually active adults it is cleared by your body immune system within months but sometimes may “recur” considerably later even in monogamous relationships. Many trials have compared HPV testing versus cytology (conventional pap smear).
Overall HPV test is more specific in detecting precancerous and cancerous changes on the cervix. Therefore the recommendation of 5 yearly intervals for HPV testing has been recommended.