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HPV testing

Prevention of cervical cancer

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection of the skin and the linings of the body cavities. It is transmitted through skin to skin contact and usually has no symptoms at all.

We test for HPV as part of our cervical smear testing and can also tell you what kind (subtype) of HPV you have to assess your risk of cervical cancer and genital warts and will give you a recommendation about how frequently you need to have a smear test.

Smear test and HPV Services we offer

We provide cervical smear tests and screening for human papilloma virus as part of your smear test. We also offer subtyping of HPV if your test comes back positive. This will help us to determine whether your virus strain is high or lower risk.

We also offer Gardasil, which is a vaccine against human papilloma virus. If you have not been sexually active, this can be administered to a woman of any age. If you have been sexually active, we recommend checking your current HPV status first.

Procedure

Preparing for test

Please try to avoid planning the screening during your period

During the test

Screening for HPV involves a normal cervical smear test. A speculum is used to hold the vaginal walls open, so that the doctor can collect cells from the cervix using a soft swab. The procedure is not painful.

Type of sample taken:

Cervical smear

Results

The doctor will call you once yours results are back, and will discuss any necessary follow ups with you. Once you have discussed the results with the GP, we will email them over to you.

FAQ

How common is the HPV virus, and is it dangerous?

Eight out of ten people in the UK will be infected with the HPV virus at some point of their lives. The virus mostly occurs on fingers hands, mouth and genitals. There are many different types of HPV from which most are harmless, but around 30 of them can cause cancer (cervical cancer).

How is HPV transmitted?

HPV is transmitted through intimate and sexual contact, most commonly from vaginal or anal sex but it can be transmitted through other intimate contact and condoms are not effective protection. It can also be transferred from a pregnant mother to her baby during delivery. Most people do not know that they have the infection, and in many cases, the body will clear it on its own.

How can I prevent an HPV infection?

The best way to prevent HPV infection is to be vaccinated before potential exposure. Once you have already been infected with the virus, the vaccine becomes less effective. Practising safe sex can limit the risks but will not totally guard against infection.

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HIV

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Please note that Walk In Clinic is a private medical centre and not an NHS service.