HPV has been around since people have been having people. A mummy with a large abdominal mass was found to be positive for HPV 16. We also know that HPV 16 has played an important role for the current standards of stem cells and cancer research because of the HeLa cell line and Henrietta Lacks. Because of all of this work, we also now have a cancer vaccine.
Cervical cancer screening is by far the most successful cancer screening test available. HPV is the virus that causes not only cervical cancer, but other urogenital cancers and head and neck cancers.
Cervical cancer has decreased in the US due to a screening program that first suggested annual screening, but has now changed to a variety of intervals based on age and clinical history. However, cervical cancer remains a leading cause of death for women in developing countries.
While cervical cancer may have declined in the US due to our screening guidelines, we are seeing an increase in HPV related cancers in men.
WSLH Cytology Manager and Cytotechnology Certificate Program Manager Michele Smith gave a brown bag talk on HPV. You can see it here (works best in Internet Explorer): http://slhstream.ad.slh.wisc.edu/Mediasite4/Viewer/?peid=7bcf6cb4069b47edae772bd6b8039bf11d