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HPV Test

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HPV TEST DEFINITION

This is a test to check for the presence of HPV (human papillomavirus), and if so, what type.

HPV TEST PURPOSE

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that, in many cases, is asymptomatic. However, it does exist in high-risk forms that can lead to serious problems later, like cervical cancer. Both men and women can have the virus, but this test is designed for women. This is particularly true if the woman is in her thirties onwards, and if she has had many sexual partners, or contact with someone else who has. The test is more important if she did not get the HPV vaccine before the age of 26.

HPV TEST RISKS

This is not a complex or invasive procedure, so risks are minimal. We might count the possibility of an inaccurate result as a risk, however, especially if the preparatory procedures were not followed. Injury is probably likely only if the practitioner was very unskilled or downright cruel.

HPV TEST PREPARATION REQUIRED

Patients are asked to refrain from using medicines or douches on the vagina, or from using tampons for at least 48 hours before the procedure. (It may be better for these reasons to not have the procedure done while one is menstruating.) The woman may also be asked to urinate just before the procedure, since it is more comfortable if her bladder is empty.

HPV TEST PROCEDURE

Basically, a small amount of cervix cells are taken as a sample for testing, often via Pap smear. These cells are then put under a microscope and analyzed. If warning signs are seen, a DNA test may be ordered to check for cervical cancer.

HPV TEST COMPLICATIONS

Given the simplicity of the procedure, complications usually do not occur, unless perhaps the equipment was not clean.

HPV TEST SIDE EFFECTS

There may be some side effects if the patient was accustomed to using douches or medicines in the vagina, and had to stop using them for two days, as per proper procedure.

HPV TEST RESULTS

You will be notified of the presence of the virus, and also of what type of HPV you are carrying. The presence of the virus is not uncommon. In fact, many people are HPV carriers, though they are not actually affected by the virus. If you are infected with a high-risk type of HPV, the doctor can suggest treatment for you to lower your risk of developing complications or later associated illnesses like genital warts or cervical cancer.
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