What About the Partners of Women With Abnormal Pap or Positive HPV Tests?
May 8, 2009
In detailing the background of the current study, the authors observed: "Because high-risk HPV [human papillomavirus] is highly prevalent in the general population, usually transient, and rarely causes clinical symptoms, and because diagnostic and treatment options for HPV in men are lacking, partner notification is not useful for preventing transmission or protecting the health of male partners."
The researchers conducted a nationally representative survey of clinicians in seven areas of specialty who perform screening for cervical cancer. The health care professionals were asked whether they recommend that women with an abnormal Pap test or positive HPV test results inform their sex partners of the infection or refer those partners to a clinician.
In all seven specialties, a large proportion of providers, ranging from 48 to 73 percent, encourage women with either test result to tell their sex partners to see a clinician. Health care providers who perform reflex HPV testing were more likely to recommend that patients with an ASCUS Pap tell their partners of the test result if the HPV test was positive than if it was negative (66-83 percent vs. 29-50 percent). Clinicians who perform adjunct HPV testing were more likely to recommend that patients with a normal Pap inform their partners if an HPV test was positive than if it was negative (72-92 percent vs. 30-52 percent).
"Most providers advise patients with cervical cancer screening tests suggestive of HPV infection to notify their sex partners and to refer them to a clinician," the authors wrote in their conclusion to the study. "Guidelines are needed for providers to clarify any rationale for clinical evaluation of male partners, including that informing partners has a limited role in the control of HPV transmission or in preventing adverse health outcomes in the male partner."
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
03.2009; Vol. 36; No. 3: P. 141-146; Karen Hoover, M.D., M.P.H.; Allison Friedman, M.S.; Daniel Montaño, Ph.D.; Danuta Kasprzyk, Ph.D.; April Greek, Ph.D.; Matthew Hogben, Ph.D.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.