HPV Test

What is HPV?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common infection and most women get it at some time in their life. In most cases it clears up by itself without the need for treatment. There are many types of HPV and most are harmless, however some can cause abnormalities in the cervix (the neck of the womb). These abnormalities often clear up without treatment when the virus clears but in some women the virus persists, placing them at greater risk of developing cervical abnormalities (CIN) which may need treatment. This is because cervical abnormalities can, if left untreated, go on to develop into cervical cancer.

Why get tested for HPV?

Women who do not have HPV are extremely unlikely to develop cervical cancer over the next several years. Women who test positive can have further tests to find out if HPV has caused abnormal cells to develop on their cervix. If abnormalities are found they can then be treated well before a cancer could develop.

We recommend that only women over the age of 30 are screened for HPV as women under the age of 30 have a very high chance of a positive result that will clear spontaneously. At present, the HPV test is not routinely available on the NHS, however it is being piloted by the NHS and Cancer Research UK for both routing screening and home-sampling.

The test.me test

The test.me test checks for the presence of high-risk HPV types (those linked with cervical cancer). The test will detect the two highest risk types, type 16 and type 18 separately, along with testing for a further 12 high HPV types. Results will be reported for:

  • Presence of HPV Type 16
  • Presence of HPV Type 18
  • Combined result for presence of HPV Types 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66 and 68

Results can take up to ten working days, however in many cases are available within five. If you have chosen to combine your HPV swab with a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Screen, results for these tests may be available earlier than your HPV results.

How do people get HPV?

HPV is a very common infection among people who have been sexually active at some time in their life. It is easily transmitted during sexual contact between men and women and between partners of the same sex. The virus shows no symptoms, so it is possible that:

  • someone may have had the infection for many years without knowing about it
  • a partner may have been infected years earlier and be unaware of it

How do I know if I have HPV?

The only way to test for HPV is with a special test such as the test.me HPV test kit. This test requires a sample to be collected and returned to our laboratory for analysis. The test will only tell you if you had HPV at the moment it was taken and does not indicate whether HPV is causing abnormal cells to develop. If you have a positive HPV result, further testing is be required to determine if HPV has caused abnormal cells to develop on their cervix