Clear It With Sidney

Notes on journalism for the common good, by Lindsay Beyerstein

Arizona Republic Wins February Sidney for Expose of Faulty HPV Tests Linked to False-Negative Results and Undetected Cancers

Congratulations to Bob Ortega of the Arizona Republic on winning the February Sidney Award for his expose of the faulty SurePath HPV test, which has a dramatically elevated rate of false-negative results compared to other tests on the market. Women have died or lost their uteruses to cancer after getting at least two false-negative SurePath test results in a row. A false negative means that an HPV+ woman is told she doesn’t have the virus, which means that her doctors may wait longer before scheduling her next Pap smear. HPV is the virus that causes most cervical cancer. If HPV causes cancer, early detection is key to a successful treatment. If false-negative results delay cancer detection, the disease may become more difficult to treat. Millions of American women get the SurePath test every year, even though the manufacturer and the FDA are well aware of the false-negative problem. Find out why in my interview with Ortega for The Backstory.