human papillomavirus (HPV) test is done to find a
high-risk HPV infection in women. HPV is a
sexually transmitted disease (STD). An HPV test checks
for the genetic material (DNA) of the human papillomavirus. Like
Pap test, an HPV test is done on a sample of cells
collected from the
There are many types of HPV. Some
warts that you can see or feel. Other types do not
cause any symptoms. Most people do not know they have an HPV infection.
This test will identify whether a high-risk type of HPV is present. In
women, high-risk types of HPV (such as types 16, 18, 31, and 45) cause changes
in the cells of the
cervix that can be seen as abnormal changes on a Pap
test. Abnormal cervical cell changes may resolve on their own without
treatment. But some untreated cervical cell changes can progress to serious
abnormalities and may lead to
cervical cancer over time if it is not treated.
For information about treatment of abnormal cervical cell changes
seen on a Pap smear, see the topic
Abnormal Pap Test.
Although HPV is found
in both men and women, this test is not used on men. Also, your doctor can
usually diagnose visible genital warts with a physical exam, so this test is
not used to diagnose genital warts caused by low-risk types of HPV.
Why It Is Done
An HPV test is done to:
- Check for high-risk types of human
papillomavirus (HPV) in women who had a Pap test that showed abnormal cervical
atypical squamous cells (ASC). An HPV test can help
look for one or more high-risk types of HPV. If an HPV test shows that
high-risk types of HPV are present, further testing, such as a
cervical biopsy, may be recommended.
for HPV in women older than age 30 as part of screening for abnormal cervical
- To help check for abnormal cervical cells after treatment of
a high-risk HPV infection.
The HPV test may be done at the same time as the Pap test.
The results of this test can help doctors decide if further tests or treatments
are needed. For more information, see the topic
How To Prepare
Before an HPV test, do not douche, use
tampons, or use vaginal medicines for at least 48 hours.
be asked to empty your bladder just before the test, both for your own comfort
and to help with the examination.
Talk to your doctor about any
concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be
done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of
this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).