HPV DNA test

Screening for human papilloma virus (HPV)

Through a simple swab, the HPV DNA test looks for human papilloma virus genes in your cervical cells

About

Most types of HPV are symptomless. They usually clear up on their own without leading to future complications. However, if you have a certain type of high-risk HPV, it could be a sign that you're more likely to develop cervical cancer. The HPV DNA test screens for the highest risk forms of HPV.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your nurse will ask you to undress from the waist down and lie on a bed. If the bed has stirrups, they'll ask you to place your feet in them. Otherwise, you should bend your knees or lie with your feet together and knees apart. The lower half of your body can be covered with a paper sheet. When you’re ready your nurse will guide a metal instrument (speculum) into your vagina and open it gently. They will then use a fine brush to collect cell samples from your cervix. The procedure will usually take less than five minutes. If you’re having a cervical screen, you can have your HPV DNA test at the same time. Your nurse will just take a second swab.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    The HPV DNA test is a quick, straightforward procedure that's unlikely to cause you much discomfort. However, like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects. Your nurse or consultant will explain these to you and answer any questions. If you'd feel more comfortable, you can ask us to arrange a chaperone. Or you're welcome to bring someone along to your appointment with you. It's possible to have a cervical screen and HPV DNA test at the same time. If you'd like to do this, please speak to us beforehand. You shouldn't have sex in the 24 hours leading up to your test or use a tampon for 48 hours beforehand.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You'll be able to go home as soon as your procedure is over. We'll be in touch when we have your results.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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