HPV screening (smear)
As part of our pap smear screen for women, we include a simple and highly accurate HPV test. This involves taking cells from the cervix which are sent to the laboratory for analysis. The result will indicate the presence of high risk sub-types. If you are positive for HPV and want to know the subtype, this can be requested consequently at an additional cost.
What is HPV?
Human papilloma virus (HPV) refers to a group of over 100 viruses that affect your body’s moist membranes (cervix, anus, mouth, and throat).
The main concern with HPV is that certain kinds of HPV infection can lead to abnormal tissue growth in and around the cervix, which can cause cervical cancer. If detected early on, these can be prevented from multiplying.
Around 1 in 20 women will show abnormal changes when taking a cervical screen. There are around 3,000 cases of cervical cancer per year in the UK. In women under 25, the condition is very rare.
Genital warts are also the result of HPV infection.
Teenage girls are now offered the HPV vaccine through secondary schools, but women over the age of 25 are recommended to undergo regular cervical screening whether or not they have been vaccinated.
What can I expect from the smear test?
The smear test, which includes a HPV test, will involve a doctor gently inserting a speculum into the vagina and taking cells from the cervix using a small, soft brush. For most women, this test is painless and it only takes around 5 minutes to carry out. The collected cells are then sent off for testing and results are available quickly. Where necessary, immediate specialist gynaecological referral will be made.
A routine cervical screening is vital for women and should be carried out regularly.