What is the role of lab testing in the diagnosis of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection?

Updated: Feb 20, 2020
  • Author: Peter A Gearhart, MD; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Laboratory studies that may be considered include the following:

  • Cervical cytologic testing with the Papanicolaou (Pap) test to screen for cervical neoplasia (guidelines for cervical cancer screening now include a delay in the initiation of screening and longer intervals between subsequent screens [1] )

  • HPV DNA testing (eg, with Hybrid Capture II or polymerase chain reaction [PCR] assay) for detection of HPV and posttreatment follow-up of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia

  • The acetic acid test: This test can be used in conjunction with colposcopy to examine cervical lesions; however, it is reserved for suspicious lesions and should not be used for routine screening

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