Originally Posted by Titchou
The purpose of a pap smear is not, first and foremost, to detect HPV. That's a recent utilization of the test. The purpose is to test for any abnormal cells which can mean cancer - and it doesn't have to be caused by HPV. There are other causes.
If you're HPV negative you can't be helped by pap testing, you're not at risk and if you're HPV positive and aged 30+ you have a small chance of benefiting from a five yearly pap test, at least until you test negative for the virus (when cleared by your immune system) the new Dutch program will only offer pap testing to the roughly 5% of women aged 30 and older who are HPV positive and at risk and apart from the invasive HPV primary test, there are also self test options available.