Smear tests have been the standard mode of screening for human papilloma virus (HPV) but researchers have developed a simple urine test that could emerge as a non-invasive alternative to such screening methods.
The test was developed by researchers from Britain and Spain and was led by Neha Pathak of Queen Mary University of London.
The researchers analyzed results of 14 studies involving over 1,400 sexually active women and found that compared to smear tests, urine sampling had an 87 percent sensitivity, the proportion of positives correctly identified, and 94 percent specificity, or the proportion of negatives correctly identified.
Writing in their report, which has been published in the online edition of the British Medical Journal, the researchers said that the use of urine sampling could lead to more women willing to undergo screening compared to smear tests, in which an instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina to allow access to the cervix. "The detection of HPV in urine is non-invasive, easily accessible and acceptable to women, and a test with these qualities could considerably increase uptake", the researchers wrote in their report.