The Pap test – which tests for abnormal cells on the cervix, and the HPV test have been found to be individually less effective than the combined “co-test”, which unites the two tests into a single procedure, according to a new Quest Diagnostics study that was reported by Reuters Health.

The study involved more than 13 million women over the age of 30 and from a diverse range of backgrounds between 2010 and 2018.

Equally important in achieving prevention is a regular cycle of testing, which many women often neglect. “Regrettably, many women are not up to date with their screening,” attested Dr. Damian Alagia of Quest, adding that, because of this, the benefits of the cotest are even more valuable: ”Ensuring women are screened with the most reliable method when they do seek screening may help identify more instances of potential or existing disease. The most reliable method is co-testing with HPV and Pap together.”

Read more about the study and the importance of combined Pap and HPV screenings here.