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Cervical Cytology and HPV Testing

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Natural History of HPV Infections2

Slide 4

March 2010

The natural history of HPV infections is also important to recognize. With the initial infection, the virus will replicate within the cervix or other mucosal tissues, but does not normally integrate itself into the host genome and thus does not always result in a preneoplastic or neoplastic condition. This HPV infected cervix in the majority of women will clear and become completely normal again. In some individuals, there is progression with integration of the HPV into the host genome and this can lead to a precancerous lesion.

Again, in many of these instances, the precancerous lesion will regress back to an HPV infected cervix and this infection may last for quite some time, sometimes even over the entire lifespan of the individual. In very rare instances, the preneoplastic lesions will progress and will progress on to invasive cancer. This is important when we are looking at using HPV testing in cervical cancer screening because again the majority of women who become infected with HPV become completely normal again. They will clear this infection.

History of Infections


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