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.
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.
What To Think About
A human papillomavirus (HPV) test is not
routinely used to diagnose genital warts. It is usually done to find out
whether an abnormal Pap test result may be caused by one or more high-risk
types of HPV. To learn more, see the topic
Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus).
HPV test may be done along with a Pap test in women age 30 and older. It may be
done as a follow-up test after treatment for an abnormal Pap test. To learn more, see the topic
Abnormal Pap Test.
A positive HPV test
does not mean that you have cervical cancer. It may mean that you are infected
with one or more high-risk types of HPV, which increases your chance of having
precancerous cervical cell changes. Your doctor may recommend repeat testing or
further testing, such as a colposcopy and cervical biopsy, to find out whether
precancerous changes are present. The type of testing recommended will depend
on your medical history and the findings of the HPV test. To learn more,
see the topic
Colposcopy and Cervical Biopsy.
test is highly reliable for finding high-risk types of HPV. But an HPV test may
come back positive when you do not have an HPV infection. This is called a
false-positive test result.
An HPV test
is done only for women. Currently, an HPV test for men is done only in a
If you are age 26 or younger, you can get the HPV shot. The vaccines Cervarix(What is a PDF document?) and Gardasil(What is a PDF document?) protect against two types of HPV that cause cervical cancer. Gardasil also protects against two types of HPV that cause genital warts. To learn more,
see the topic
Other Works Consulted
American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists (2005, reaffirmed 2009). Human papillomavirus. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 61.
Obstetrics and Gynecology,
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis:
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.