How can cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) be prevented?

  • Practice abstinence or use condoms when having sex—The human papilloma virus, which is the leading cause of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, can be transmitted through sexual contact, including hand-to-genital or oral-to-genital contact as well as direct genital contact. The only way to effectively prevent HPV infections is by not engaging in sex. Use of condoms can reduce the risk of HPV infections, but they are not totally effective.
  • Vaccinations against HPV—The Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine called Gardasil® that is effective against the 4 types of HPV that are most closely linked to CIN. It is recommended that girls and women between age 9 and 26 be vaccinated against HPV. It is also approved for boys and young men aged 9 to 26.
  • Have regular Pap tests—Women should have their first Pap test at age 21. If the Pap tests remain normal, the current recommendations are for a repeat Pap every 3 years from ages 21 to 29, and a Pap and HPV test every five years for women 30 to 65. Pap tests cannot prevent cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, but they are beneficial because they can detect it in its earliest stages.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/07/2014.


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  • College of American Pathologists. Cervical Condition: Cervical Dysplasia Accessed 5/8/2014.
  • American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology Accessed 5/7/2014.
  • Luna J, Plata M, Gonzalez M, et al. Long-term follow-up observation of the safety, immunogenicity, and effectiveness of Gardasil™ in adult women. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(12):e83431
  • Saslow D, Solomon D, Lawson HW, et al. American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and American Society for Clinical Pathology screening guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012;62(3):147-72

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