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HPV Test Shows Better Long-Term Psychosocial Outcomes

Last Updated: February 24, 2010.

Women who have a test for the human papillomavirus after receiving a borderline abnormal cervical smear result have better psychosocial outcomes over the long term than women who have a repeat smear test, according to a study published Feb. 23 in BMJ.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have a test for the human papillomavirus (HPV) after receiving a borderline abnormal cervical smear result have better psychosocial outcomes over the long term than women who have a repeat smear test, according to a study published Feb. 23 in BMJ.

Kirsten J. McCaffery, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues conducted a study of 314 women aged 16 to 70 years, recruited from 18 Australian family planning clinics, who had all received a borderline cervical smear test result after routine cervical screening. While 104 women received HPV DNA testing, 106 had another smear test at six months and 104 were supported by a decision aid and chose which test to have.

Using mental health and psychosocial measurements, the researchers found that, although in the short term psychosocial outcomes for women in the HPV-test group were worse than for those who had a follow-up smear, over a one-year time frame the test produced better psychosocial health results for the women than a repeat smear test.

"Women in the HPV arm were well informed about HPV infection which might have mitigated some of the negative psychosocial sequelae observed in previous studies," the authors write. "Care should be taken to ensure clear and accessible HPV information is provided to women alongside HPV testing."

Two of the study authors reported receiving financial support from CSL and GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of HPV vaccines.

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