A simple, non-invasive urine test may be used to screen for human papillomavirus (HPV), researchers from Britain and Spain announced in a study. A urine test would likely offer a welcome alternative to the invasive and uncomfortable cervical smear test that is traditionally used to detect the virus, which is among the most common sexually transmitted infections.
The research, published online Tuesday in the British Medical Journal, analyzed 14 different studies involving more than 1,400 sexually active women and compared traditional smear sample results with urine test results. They found the urine test to be 87 percent as accurate as the smear test in identifying positive cases and 94 percent as accurate in identifying negative cases.
With this discovery, the researchers hope more women will be receptive to being screened for HPV. While they acknowledge there is more investigation to be done, "a test with these qualities could considerably increase uptake" in HPV screenings, they said.