Papanicolaou (PAP) smear and Humap Papilloma Virus (HPV) test are used for screening of cancer cervix; if fact, evidence suggest HPV test is more useful as stand-alone test; however the combination of both the tests are more sensitive.
Now an update of the 2003 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation statement on screening for cervical cancer has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine
The USPSTF reviewed new evidence on the comparative test performance of liquid-based cytology and the benefits and harms of human papillomavirus (HPV) testing as a stand-alone test or in combination with cytology.
In addition to the systematic evidence review, the USPSTF commissioned a decision analysis to help clarify the age at which to begin and end screening, the optimal interval for screening, and the relative benefits and harms of different strategies for screening (such as cytology and co-testing).
This recommendation statement applies to women who have a cervix, regardless of sexual history. This recommendation statement does not apply to women who have received a diagnosis of a high-grade precancerous cervical lesion or cervical cancer, women with in utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol, or women who are immunocompromised (such as those who are HIV positive).
The USPSTF recommends screening for cervical cancer in women age 21 to 65 years with cytology (Papanicolaou smear) every 3 years or, for women age 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, screening with a combination of cytology and HPV testing every 5 years.