By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com September 25 2003 11:00 PM ET
Health insurance company Aetna, which has about 13 million members across the country, announced Tuesday that it will cover Digene's new cervical cancer test as a primary screening method for women ages 30 and older, The Washington Post reports. The test combines the traditional Pap test with a screening for infection with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, which has been linked to the development of more than 90% of cervical cancer cases. The HPV/Pap combination is more expensive than the standard Pap test, but because it is administered only every three years for most women because of its heightened sensitivity, the insurer will save money in the long run, said Joanne C. Armstrong, Aetna's medical director for women's health. The Food and Drug Administration approved the combination test in March.