Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test

What is a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test?

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test is a screening procedure to detect the presence of the human papillomavirus, which is a common virus that is known to cause several types of cancer, including cervical cancer.

Preparation for an HPV Test

The preparation for an HPV test does not require any special preparation on the part of the patient. Generally, an HPV test is conducted as part of a routine screening. The patient will usually have their cervical cells scraped for examination and the doctor may ask about any recent sexual activity.

Procedure for an HPV Test

The procedure for an HPV test is generally a quick and painless process. First, a sample of cervical cells is taken from the patient. The sample is then sent to a laboratory, where it is tested for the presence of the HPV virus.

If the sample is positive for the virus, the lab technician may conduct additional tests to determine which type of HPV the patient has. This is important, as different types of HPV can cause different types of cancers.

Types of HPV

There are more than 100 different types of HPV, and there are both low-risk and high-risk types. The low-risk types usually cause benign warts, while the high-risk types can cause changes in the cells of the cervix, which can lead to cancer.

The most common high-risk types of HPV are Types 16 and 18, which are linked to about 70 percent of all cervical cancers.

Risks of an HPV Test

The HPV test is generally considered a safe procedure with very few risks involved. The only possible risk associated with the test is a mild discomfort associated with taking the sample.

Why Have an HPV Test?

Having an HPV test is important because it can detect the presence of the virus in the body before a person develops any symptoms. This is important, as the sooner the virus is detected, the easier it is to treat or prevent any complications.

When to Have an HPV Test

Most health organizations recommend that all women between the ages of 21 and 65 receive regular HPV tests as part of their routine screening. This recommendation is especially important for women who have had multiple sexual partners or are considered at high-risk for HPV.