Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test
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 exam.
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?).
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.