(HealthDay News) — The cobas human papillomavirus (HPV) test is an effective, one-test alternative to the current recommendation of screening with either a Pap test alone or a combination of the HPV test and a Pap test, according to an interim guidance report issued by the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the cobas HPV test last April as a first step in cervical cancer screening for women aged 25 and older. Roche Molecular Systems, headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., makes the test. The HPV test detects DNA from 14 types of HPV and includes types 16 and 18, which cause 70 percent of cervical cancers.

Thursday’s interim report recommends that primary HPV testing should be considered starting at age 25. For women younger than 25, current guidelines recommending a Pap test alone beginning at age 21 should be followed. The new recommendations also state that women with a negative result for a primary HPV test should not be tested again for three years, which is the same interval recommended for a normal Pap test result. An HPV test that is positive for HPV 16 and 18 should be followed with colposcopy.

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However, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists is still recommending that women aged 30 to 65 be screened using either the Pap test alone, or co-tested with a combination of both the HPV test and a Pap test.

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