HPV Testing

HPV tests can detect the virus that can lead to genital warts, abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer. HPV tests can be done from the same sample as a Pap smear.

What is HPV?

HPV is the human papillomavirus. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease carried by both men and women. There are more than 100 strains of HPV. Some types of these viruses can lead to genital cancer.

What is HPV testing?

HPV testing identifies whether you have one of the strains of HPV that can cause cervical cancer, by testing a sample from your cervix in the laboratory such as NorDx.  It does not tell women if they have cervical cancer.

An HPV test can be done from the same sample as a Pap smear. You most likely will not feel the sample being taken, and it will not be painful. This sample will be sent to the laboratory to be tested for the human papillomavirus.

You will receive either a positive or negative result from this test. A positive result means that you have one of the cancer-causing strains of HPV. A negative result means that you do not have a cancer-causing strain of HPV.

Preventing HPV

There is a vaccine for cancer-causing strains of HPV. This would prevent you from contracting only the strains of HPV that cause cancer.

It is administered with three doses over an eight-month period.

 

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Do I Need an HPV Test?

Women can be tested for the HPV virus. Testing can be part of a routine Pap smear.

Currently there is not an HPV test for men.

Testing is recommended for the following groups of people:

  • Women 30 years and older are usually tested for HPV.
  • Women with more than one sexual partner may be advised to be tested.
  • Women who have symptoms like genital or common warts or genital lesions.
  • Women with weakened immune systems due to HIV/AIDS or who take a drug that lowers their immune response.

What if My HPV Test is Positive?

 If you receive a positive HPV test, your healthcare provider may prescribe one of the following procedures.
  • Colposcopy: Examination of your cervix more closely, with a magnification tool.

  • Biopsy: Another sample of your cervix is taken, like in the HPV test, and it is looked at under a microscope. The abnormal cells are removed. You may have a procedure to take out the abnormal cells, which could prevent those cells from developing into cancer.

You may need to go see a doctor who specializes in cervical cancer care for evaluation and treatment.

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