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HPV is age blind, keep screening.

Women aged 51 years are at least as likely as were younger women to become infected with human papillomavirus, a study suggests; the findings indicate that cervical screening should not be discontinued after age 50.

To compare rates of HPV acquisition in older and younger women, paired archived cervical smears taken an average of 3 years apart from 656 women were tested. Of these, 567 were negative for HPV at baseline, Dr. Matthew J. Grainge of the University of Nottingham (England) and his colleagues reported.

Of 333 women aged 51 years at the time of a baseline smear that was HPV negative, 21% had a positive smear 3 years later, compared with 15% of 66 women aged 21 years, 14% of 85 women aged 31, and 13% of 83 women aged 41 at the time of a negative baseline smear. The differences were not statistically significant, the investigators noted (Emerg. Infect. Dis. 2005;11:1680-5).

Prospective research is needed on the effects of HPV acquisition during middle age, such as the associated risk for high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cervical cancer, they concluded.

--From staff reports

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Title Annotation:Clinical Capsules
Publication:Family Practice News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 15, 2006
Words:186
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