ZocdocAnswersIs it recommended to do a colposcopy after a normal Pap smear, but positive HPV result?

Question

Is it recommended to do a colposcopy after a normal Pap smear, but positive HPV result?

I am 28 and have never had an abnormal Pap. Wouldn't another pap and hpv test in 6-12 months be ok?

Answer

I recommend that you discuss your concerns with your physician. The current guidelines suggest that there are a couple options for women who have a normal pap smear but test HPV positive. One option is, as you suggest, to undergo a repeat pap smear and HPV test in one year's time. If the pap smear remains negative and the HPV test is negative, you can go back to testing at longer intervals, specifically every three years. If you have abnormal cells at that time on your pap smear or continue to be HPV positive, you could then go for colposcopy at that time. Another alternative is to have your HPV sequenced to determine if it is a high risk HPV strain. If it is a high risk strain, specifically HPV 16 or 18, then the recommendation would be that you undergo colposcopy right away. If the HPV strain is not one of the high-risk strains, you could get co-tested in one year and proceed as above. In these kinds of situations there is no clear right answer and it depends on your preferences and what your doctor recommends. I would strongly recommend you sit down with your physician and discuss your concerns and come up with a plan for how best to proceed given these different possibilities.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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