It has been found out that there is a close link between abnormal results of Pap smear and HPV. HPV is a virus that affects skin and mucosal membranes of different organs. About 100 strains of HPV have been identified and some strains tend to infect genital zone and induce cellular abnormalities in the epithelium.
In women, HPV infection is frequently present on the cervix and inside the vagina. The contamination of the cervix by HPV usually occurs during sexual contacts. Most often the course of cervical HPV infection is asymptomatic and the detection of HPV requires the realization of special tests, like pap smear and HPV DNA test.
Pap smear is a test for cytological abnormalities which involves scraping cells from the cervix and examining the obtained material in the laboratory. This procedure gives the opportunity to detect various cervical conditions, including HPV-related problems. In case a patient has an abnormal pap smear and HPV infection, the risk of cancer of the cervix is high. Patients with such results of Pap smear should observe all medical prescriptions.
There are various conditions that may be related to cervical abnormalities. In some cases cervical cells do not look normal, but there are no obvious signs of a disease. This state of cervical cells corresponds to the diagnosis ASCUS (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance). The presence of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance is not very dangerous, and patients having this result usually require only regular check-ups with pap smear and HPV testing.
Abnormal pap smear and HPV positive results may also suggest that the woman has such HPV-related diseases as cervical dysplasia and genital warts. Dysplasia is a precursor of cervical cancer and women with this condition usually require a close medical follow-up. Genital warts are epithelial tumors which are associated with a low risk of malignant degeneration. Regular medical check-ups help to detect early precancerous diseases and prevent serious health problems.
The treatment for patients with abnormal pap smear and HPV infection depends on the degree of detected abnormalities. In some cases it is necessary to treat HPV-associated cervical abnormalities with surgical procedures. Only a specialist can determine an appropriate management for women having an abnormal result of pap smear and HPV infection.