Half of Health Care Providers Recommend HPV Co-Test

Fewer than 15 percent of providers follow recommended cervical cancer screening interval

FRIDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately half of health care providers recommend the combination of human papillomavirus (HPV) and Papanicolaou test (HPV co-test) for cervical cancer screening, but fewer than 15 percent follow the recommended guidelines of waiting three years for the next screening, according to a study published online June 13 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Katherine B. Roland, M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed HPV test practices and Papanicolaou test screening interval recommendations of U.S. health care providers. The nationally representative data collected in 2006 through the CDC's National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey were analyzed using multistage probability design. Using clinical vignette assessment, recommended screening intervals for next Papanicolaou test among providers who order the HPV test, and HPV co-test use, were the main outcome measures.

The investigators found that the HPV co-test was ordered by approximately 51 percent of health care providers. In women with concurrent normal HPV co-test results and a documented normal screening history, the clinical vignette assessment found that fewer than 15 percent of providers who ordered the HPV test recommended the next Papanicolaou test in three years.

"The uptake of the HPV co-test that is reflected in our findings from 2006 is not necessarily unreasonable," the authors write. "However, our findings that large numbers of providers are not following screening interval recommendations cause greater concern."

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