What you should know about sexually transmitted human papilloma viruses


Did you know that? One in three men is infected with HPV. You can find out more here.

Cancer prevention: The PAP test detects HP viruses early

You’ve probably already had one: the so-called PAP test. At the gynecologist it is one of Cancer prevention and is carried out once a year starting from the age of 20. We spoke with Dr. Julia Löffler from the Charité Berlin. You have answered the most important questions for us about the PAP test.

What does the PAP test tell me?

“The PAP test is a widely used cytological test, named after the Greek physician George Nicolas Papanicolaou, in which cells from the mucosa of the cervix and bone are examined under a microscope.

He is an important part of the Early detection of canceras it provides information on morphological changes in the cells and classifies them accordingly from PAP I – PAP V (insignificant findings – most likely dysplasia/malignant cancer).

However, an abnormal PAP smear does not necessarily mean cancer, here the pure morphological changes of the cells are initially examined. If a diagnosis of cancer is made, further tests will be carried out to clarify the situation.”

Who should get a PAP test and how often?

Women aged 20 to 34 The PAP test should be done once a year; starting from the age of 35, the PAP test is covered by the health insurance every 3 years and is combined with the HPV test. The reason for this is that HPV infections are more common in younger women, but are usually fought successfully and remit. This can be clearly observed through cell morphology.

For women aged 35 and over An abnormal PAP test result is more likely to be associated with a persistent HPV infection and this is then combined with an HPV test to determine whether an HPV infection is present and, if so, which type of HPV. If your PAP test is positive, you can take it to your doctor more often for further testing.”

How does the PAP test work?

“There are cells in the mucosa of the cervix and cervix taken using a sterile swab, this is the so-called smear. The cells are applied to a glass slide in the laboratory and stained to make them more visible before being examined and classified under a microscope. If cellular changes are detected, gynecologists will discuss how to proceed.”

What do the smear results mean?

“There are 5 PAP categories, classified using Roman numerals:

  • PAP I – Unremarkable, cells appear normal and healthy.
  • PAP II – Mild cellular changes, but no suspicion of cancer or precancerous lesions.
  • PAP III – Notable cellular changes, but unclear results.
  • PAP IIID – Guilty cellular alterations with dysplasia.
  • PAP IV – Severe cellular changes, cancer or precancerous lesions are possible, but no definitive diagnosis of cancer! Further examination of the tissue is always necessary to make a diagnosis of cancer.
  • PAP V – Detection of malignant (malignant) cells, most likely cancer – further tissue testing is needed and performed for final diagnosis.”

By the way, here we told you how often you should go to the gynecologist. And although we women are regularly checked for HP viruses, this isn’t just us. Podcaster Ann-Kathrin Schulze sums it up well: “I always feel like HPV is labeled as a women’s issue. Personally, I wish men would also learn more about it and be a little more educated. HPV affects both sexes!”

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