Dr. Preeti Tandon
(Specialist Obstetrics & Gynaecology Laparoscopic & Robotic Surgeon. )

MBBS, MD(Obs/Gynae), F.MAS(Laparoscopic Surgeon), FICOG
Diploma in Adv Gynae Endoscopy (France), Certified Robotic Surgery Training (USA).

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HPV Testing

The human papillomavirus (HPV) test identified the presence of human papillomavirus, a virus that can pave the way for the development of genital warts, abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer

HPV test may be recommended if:

  • Your Pap test comes abnormal and showing some typical squamous cells of unidentified significance (ASCUS)
  • Your age is 30 or more

The HPV test is applicable only to women; no HPV test is discovered which can detect the virus in men. However, men are also susceptible to HPV and posses the ability to pass the virus to their sex partners.

Why is it done?

The HPV test is considered as the screening test for cervical cancer. This test detects the presence of HPV, the virus that can turned into cervical cancer. Certain types of HPV - including types 16 and 18- increase ones cervical cancer risk.

By knowing the type of HPV one along with the doctor are the deciding factor on further steps of management, which may be following up, further testing, or treatment of abnormal or precancerous cells.

Frequent use of the HPV test in women who are under the age of 30 is not recommended. HPV spreads through sexual contact and considered as a very common phenomenon in young women, so, frequently, the test results will turn out to be positive. However, infections of HPV often heal by their own within a span of year or two. Cervical changes can also gives rise to cancer and take several years often 10 years or more to develop fully. By that reasons, you may have to follow a long course of watchful waiting instead of accessing treatment for cervical changes grows from HPV infection.

What you can expect?

An HPV test is generally performed at the same duration as a Pap test – this test includes the collects cells from your cervix to check for abnormalities or cancer presence. An HPV test can be performed using the sample from the Pap test or by the collection of second sample from the cervical canal.

Results

Observation from HPV test will either turn out to be positive or negative.

  • Positive HPV test. A positive test observation means that you are having a type of high-risk HPV that's may pave the way for cervical cancer. But that exactly doesn’t mean that you have the conditions of cervical cancer, but still it is a warning sign cervical cancer have the possibility of development in the future. Your doctor will possibly recommend you a follow-up test in a year to see if the infection still exists or to check for the conditions of cervical cancer.
  • Negative HPV test. A negative test result directly indicates that you don't have any of the sort of HPV that can turned into cervical cancer.

Depending on the outcomes of your test, your doctor will recommend you one of the aforementioned steps:

  • Normal procedure or monitoring. If your age is above 30, your HPV test turns out negative and your Pap test turns normal, then you will be advised to follow the generally recommended for repeating both tests in the span of five years.
  • Colposcopy. In this follow-up procedure, your doctor will examine you with a special magnifying lens (colposcopy) and see closely your cervix portion.
  • Biopsy. In this procedure, performed in conjunction with the colposcopy, in this process your doctor takes a sample of cervical cells (biopsy) for the close examination under a microscope.
  • Removal of abnormal cervical cells. To prevent the growth of abnormal cells from developing into the cancer cells, your doctor will suggest you a procedure to remove the specific portions of tissue that have the presence abnormal cells.
  • Seeing a specialist. If your Pap test or HPV test results turn out to be abnormal, then your doctor will probably refer you to a specialist gynecologist for an examination of colposcopy. If test results indicate that you have cancer, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating cancers of the female genital tract (gynecologic oncologist) for the keen treatment.

What Women with the Positive signs of HPV Test Result must acquaint with.

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is considered as the most common virus found in men and women. It is usually passed on during sexual intercourse, or more specifically most often during vaginal and anal sex.

People who are more sexually active will get HPV at some time in their lives, and unfortunately, most will never know it because HPV comes with no sorts of signs or symptoms.

As per the medical lexicon, there are 40 types of genital HPV. In the significant number of cases, HPV heals away through its own, without leaving any of the health concerns. It is usually considered that the immune system has the inherent capability to fights HPV infection naturally.

But many times, HPV does not heal by own. Some HPV types can also be the reason of genital warts. Other HPV types (called "high-risk" types) can pave the way for cell changes on a woman's cervix that can lead to cervical cancer by the time. The types of HPV that are the reasons of genital warts are somewhat different from the types that can cause cancer.

Possessing HPV is not the same thing as HIV or herpes.

Having HPV also does not mean that women will face some issues regarding pregnancy.

Doctors can only confine to treat the cell changes that HPV cause; but they do not specifically treat HPV (a virus).

Condoms lessen the chances of passing HPV to sexual partners, if used every time and by the right way. Condoms may also lessen the chances of being infected with other types of HPV or developing HPV-related diseases (genital warts and cervical cancer). But still, HPV can be the reason of infecting areas that are not safely covered by condom, so condoms can’t ensure full protection against HPV.