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The Food and Drug Administration has approved a testing protocol that allows patients to collect their own vaginal samples for human papillomavirus (HPV) screening in healthcare settings—including urgent care. It’s significant because it allows for HPV primary testing without the need for a traditional Pap smear performed with a speculum. The self-collected samples must still be sent to labs for analysis. While a Pap smear can potentially detect abnormalities in the cervix, the new HPV tests detect several types of high-risk HPV genotypes that put patients at higher risk of cervical cancer, according to press releases from Roche and Becton, Dickinson and Company, 2 manufacturers of the new tests and providers of the respective lab analysis services. 

Removing barriers: The manufacturers collaborated with the National Cancer Institute to shepherd the test toward approval with the hope that more women will choose to screen for HPV knowing the self-collection option is available, particularly among underserved populations.

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New HPV Screen Allows for Simplified Patient Self-Collection