HPV DNA Test allows the early detection of HPV infection, while Pap Smear Test only tests positive after the existence of abnormal cell changes.

HPV Vaccine vs SENTIS™ HPV [1]

The 9-valent HPV vaccine approved in Hong Kong covers 9 types: types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.[1] While the SENTIS™ HPV Test covers a total of 14 types: types 16, 18, and 12 other high-risk types (31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, 68).

HPV types 6 and 11 are linked to genital warts. The SENTIS™ HPV Test covers the 7 additional high-risk types that are not covered by the 9-valent HPV vaccine.


HPV DNA Test [3]

The HPV test is a screening test to detect the presence of HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer, including types 16 and 18 — the most common high-risk type of HPV. Knowing whether you have a type of HPV that puts you at high risk of cervical cancer means that you and your doctor can better decide on the next steps in your health care. 

Pap Smear Test

The Pap smear test collects cervical cells to examine whether any abnormal or precancerous changes are present in the cells on the cervix. A Pap test also sometimes finds conditions that are not cancer related, such as infection or inflammation.

Do I need to do an HPV screening test?

About 80% of women may be infected with HPV in their life that can cause health problems including cervical cancer, oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.

Prevention of Cervical Cancer takes more than HPV vaccination. Avoid risky sexual behaviour by maintaining a stable and monogamous relationship, using a condom every time, and do not smoke or drink alcohol, so that your own immune system can resist the virus.

HPV can lay dormant for many years after a person contracts the virus, even if symptoms never occur. Therefore, having vaccination and regular cervical screening can prevent cervical cancer in a more comprehensive way.

Recommendations on Cervical Cancer Screening [4, 5]

World Health Organisation - Screening Recommendations [4]

In 2021, the World Health Organisation updated its recommendation to primarily screen for cervical cancer using HPV DNA detection rather than cytology for both the general population and those living with HIV.

Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection - Screening Recommendations [5]

Average risk asymptomatic population (with sexual experience)

  • Women aged 25-29: Screening by cytology every three years

  • Women aged 30-64: Screening by cytology every three years or primary HPV testing every five years or co-testing every five years

  • Women aged 65 or above: Screening may be discontinued if screenings within 10 years are normal

Increased risk asymptomatic population (with sexual experience)

  • Women aged 21-24 with risk factors for HPV acquisition: Screening by cytology every three years, after two consecutive normal annual screenings

[1] Food and Health Bureau. Hong Kong Reference Framework for Preventive Care for Children in Primary Care Settings [Internet]. Food and Health Bureau. 2019. Available from: https://www.fhb.gov.hk/pho/rfs/english/reference_framework/pre_care_for_child.html

[2] Cervical Screening Programme, Department of Health. Cervical Screening Background [Internet]. Department of Health. 2021. Available from: https://www.cervicalscreening.gov.hk/en/background.html

[3] Cervical Screening Programme, Department of Health. Cervical Screening [Internet]. Department of Health. 2021. Available from: https://www.cervicalscreening.gov.hk/en/screening.html

[4] World Health Organization. WHO guideline for screening and treatment of cervical pre-cancer lesions for cervical cancer prevention [Internet]. 2nd ed. https://apps.who.int/iris/rest/bitstreams/1354685/retrieve. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021. Available from: https://apps.who.int/iris/rest/bitstreams/1354685/retrieve

[5] Cancer Expert Working Group on Cancer Prevention and Screening (CEWG), Centre for Health Protection. Recommendations on Prevention and Screening for Cervical Cancer For Health Professionals [Internet]. Centre for Health Protection. 2021. Available from: https://www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/cervical_cancer_professional_hp.pdf