Screen for HPV
- HPV Screen
- HPV 16
- HPV 18/45
It’s recommended that you take this test if you’re a woman over 30 years old and want to understand your potential risk for cervical cancer. Frequency of testing can depend on your medical history (such as abnormal Pap results or cervical cancer in the past) but generally speaking, HPV testing is typically performed every 5 years. If you are unsure when testing may be right for you, we encourage you to follow up with your healthcare provider.
According to the CDC, 14 million people are newly infected with HPV each year, and nearly 12,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. HPV can clear on its own, which is why testing is not recommended for women under the age of 21. The time it takes for an HPV infection to develop into cervical cancer is about 15-20 years for women with normal immune systems, and the risk of developing cervical cancer under the age of 21 is rare. However, women over the age of 30 with a high-risk HPV infection are at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
Learn more: How to test for HPV
HPV testing for women: why it’s important
In the United States, cervical cancer screening is known to reduce the cervical cancer rate among women. In fact, cervical cancer cases have been declining since 1975 due to the Pap test, and HPV testing further supported this downward trend when it became a recommended screening option by public health organizations in 2003. Screening tests offer the best chance to catch cervical cancer early and seek treatment.
A Pap test and an HPV test can both check for HPV. During a Pap test, also known as a Pap smear, cervical cells are collected and examined with a microscope for signs of HPV (such as the presence of abnormal cervical cells). HPV tests, on the other hand, detect HPV DNA (the genetic material of the virus) in a vaginal sample. Both kinds of tests are often, but not always, done at the same time during routine cervical cancer screenings.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommend that all women, even those who have had the HPV vaccine, following these screening guidelines:
- Women ages 21–29 should be screened every three years with a Pap test
- Women ages 30–65 should be screened every five years with a Pap test plus an HPV test
High-risk HPV genotypes can increase a woman’s risk of forming cervical and other types of genital cancers – like anal or vulvar cancer – if the body is unable to clear the infection on its own. Low-risk HPV genotypes are not correlated with a risk of cervical cancer but are known to cause genital warts. If you suspect you have genital warts, please see your healthcare provider for treatment.
Although this test does not diagnose cervical cancer, it gives a more complete picture of your cervical cancer risk, so that you and your doctor can make immediate decisions about additional testing and future prevention.
This test will, with greater than 99% accuracy, tell you if you are infected with HPV and whether or not that infection is due to HPV 16 or HPV 18/45.
In the event that your test results are abnormal, an associate from our physician network will contact you directly to discuss your particular case, as well as provide information about next steps.
However, we always recommend sharing the results with your healthcare provider who may perform additional testing, including a Pap smear.
A Pap smear is not the same as an HPV test, although both are used as cervical cancer screening methods.
- Pap smear — In a pap smear, a sample of cells is taken from your cervix (a cervical specimen) and prepared for microscopic observation. A cytologist (an expert who specializes in microscopic examination of cells) then looks at the smear for abnormal cells that can indicate an HPV infection.
- HPV test — In an HPV test, a vaginal swab can be used instead of cervical cells. The vaginal swab is checked for HPV’s genetic material using DNA testing technology. Because the vaginal swab can be collected at home, the HPV test is a more convenient screening method compared to a Pap smear.
- You can take an HPV test from the comfort of home. Just order an Everlywell HPV Test to get an easy-to-use, at-home kit that includes everything you need for collecting a vaginal swab and sending it to a lab for HPV testing.
- Clinics in your community, your local Planned Parenthood, and your doctor/OB-GYN may all offer Pap smear tests.
The clinical validation that was performed by the CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratory who will be processing your sample included a correlation study between the standard of care (cervical swab used for Pap tests) and the at-home collection device (vaginal swab used for HPV testing). These were both run on the same HPV assay and results showed 100% agreement between the different collection methods (n=40). This included positive and negative screens, as well as confirmations for HPV 16 or HPV 18/45. In other words, the study showed that a vaginal swab for detection of HPV is just as effective as a cervical swab used for Pap smears.
While this test cannot provide a complete picture of your cervical cancer risk, it allows you to screen for HPV in the comfort of your own home so that you and your doctor can make immediate decisions about your health if results are positive. This screening test does not diagnose cervical cancer. Women should have cervical Pap smears and gynecological exams to look for signs of precancerous changes of the cervix and genital skin that could lead to cancer if not treated.
There are more than 100 strains of HPV, and not all forms of HPV can be harmful. It’s not uncommon for an HPV infection to clear on its own without medical treatment, but we always recommend sharing the results with your doctor who can discuss next steps.
HPV is very common, and anyone who has ever had genital contact with another person (even with protection) can be HPV-positive. Both men and women can get HPV and can pass it to partners without knowing; however, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved a test for HPV in men.
- What is HPV?
- Who gets sexually transmitted HPV?
- How common is sexually transmitted HPV?
- How will I know if I have sexually transmitted HPV?
- What happens if I find out I have sexually transmitted HPV?
- How often should women get a Pap Smear test?
- How does High Risk HPV cause cancer?
- Who gets cancer from High Risk HPV infection?
- How common are HPV associated cancers?
- Is there a cure for HPV?
- How can I still get HPV if I received the vaccine?
- What biomarkers are included in each panel?