Pap tests are the commonly accepted screening to prevent cervical cancer. A doctor scrapes a cell culture from a woman's cervix and then examines the cells for signs of abnormality. But just because a few of those cells appear abnormal, requiring further screening, doesn't necessarily mean that you've got a cancer-causing strain of HPV -- that's only one potential cause. "The difference could be due to local irritation, a non-HPV infection, a low-risk HPV type, or even a mistake in the preparation of the cell sample," writes the American Sexual Health Association.
HPV is passed via skin contact, rather than bodily fluid. For that reason, condoms can lower the risk of the disease, but they are not a sufficiently preventive measure, as they are for viruses like HIV and bacteria like gonorrhea.