The FDA recently approved a test for the STD human papillomavirus (HPV) that could become an alternative for pap smears in women. HPV causes most cases of cervical cancer, as well as some types of head and neck cancers or genital warts, depending on the strain of the virus. In the past, pap smears were used to detect cell changes that could indicate cervical cancer or a risk of cancer. The new test looks for the presence of the actual virus and can detect which strain of the virus is present. More information is also available here.
HPV is one of the most common and easiest to contract STDs. It can be transmitted between partners even with perfect condom use. Two different vaccines are available to prevent the most common types of HPV. These vaccines are recommended for boys and girls ages 9 to 11.