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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test

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.

Risks

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.

Results

A 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 weeks.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Normal:

High-risk HPV is not found.

Abnormal:

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, colposcopy, or cervical biopsy—may be recommended by your doctor, depending on your medical history and the results of this test.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • The use of douches, tampons, and vaginal creams or vaginal medicines within 48 hours before the test.
  • A cervical cell sample that is too small.
  • Your Pap test shows abnormal cells that are already known to be caused by a high-risk type of HPV.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 21, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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