Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test
How It Is Done
An HPV test can be done in a doctor's
office or clinic by:
For this test, you need to remove your clothes below the
waist and drape a paper or cloth covering around your waist. You will then lie
on your back on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by
stirrups. This allows your doctor to examine your vagina and genital
Your health professional will insert an instrument called a
speculum into your vagina. The
speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls,
allowing the inside of the vagina and the cervix to be examined.
Your health professional will then use a cotton swab or a small brush to
collect several samples of cells from the cervix. Cells are collected from the
visible part of the cervix as well as cells from inside the opening of the
cervix (endocervical canal). The samples are then placed in collection tubes
and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
An HPV test can also be
done on a cell sample taken during your Pap test if a technique called a
liquid-based Pap test was used. For a liquid-based Pap test, cells are
collected by rotating a plastic brush on the cervix. The samples are then
placed in a jar of solution and sent to a lab for examination. If you have this
type of Pap test and it shows abnormal cells, an HPV test may be done later on
the same sample.
How It Feels
You may feel some discomfort when the
speculum is inserted, especially if your vagina is irritated and tender or if
it is narrow. You may also feel pulling or pressure when the sample of cervical
cells is being collected.
There is very little chance of a problem from an
HPV test. You may worry or feel frightened if you need more testing.
After the procedure
- You may have a small amount of vaginal
bleeding or gray-green discharge after this test, and you may want to use a
panty liner to protect your clothes from any spotting.
- Do not have
sex until your doctor tells you it is safe to do so.
human papillomavirus (HPV) test is done to check for a high-risk HPV infection in women. HPV test results are generally available in 1 to 2
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
High-risk HPV is not found.
High-risk HPV is found. If high-risk HPV is
found, you may have a higher chance of having precancerous cervical cell
changes. Further testing—including repeat Pap or HPV tests,
cervical biopsy—may be recommended by your doctor,
depending on your medical history and the results of this test.