HPV test kit

HPV Test

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name for a group of viruses that are spread  during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Certain types of the virus can cause genital warts while others increase your risk of cervical cancer. The test looks for the types that may cause cervical cancer.


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A medical questionnaire and online prescription is required in order to purchase this medication.

What is HPV?

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes lining your body such as your cervix, anus, mouth and throat.

Genital HPV infections are common and highly contagious. They are spread during sexual intercourse and skin-to-skin contact of the genital areas, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

HPV infections are more likely in those who have many sex partners or have sex with someone who has had many partners. However, as the infection is so common, most people get HPV infections shortly after becoming sexually active for the first time. Even a person who has had only one partner can get HPV.

Someone can have an HPV infection even if they have no symptoms and their only sexual contact with an HPV infected person happened many years ago.

What can HPV infection  do? 

Infection with some types of genital HPV can cause:

Low risk types can cause genital warts – which is the second most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK.

High risk types can cause abnormal tissue growth and other changes to cells within your cervix – which can sometimes lead to cervical cancer.

Who should get tested?

Any woman over the age of 18 who is sexually active.

Although anyone who has ever been sexually active can get HPV as it’s easily passed between partners through sexual contact, we only supply a self test for women. This is because, in men, high-risk HPVs do not cause symptoms and are often hard to diagnose and can’t be easily identified by self testing.

Any men who are worried about HPV should either discuss it with their GP or visit a sexual health clinic.

What does the test detect?

The test looks for the strains of the virus which are associated with cervical cancer. The high risk types  HPV-16 and HPV-18 are considered to be highest risk for cervical cancer.

Together these two types are responsible for about 7 in 10 cervical cancers.

The test will report any high risk HPV and if type 16 or 18 is detected then this will be shown separately. If it is one of the other high risk HPV types then you will be told that you have one of the other high risk HPVs.

It can detect HPV infections before abnormal cell changes are evident, and before any treatment for cell changes is needed.

It does not check for the strains of the virus which can cause genital warts.

What's the difference between a HPV test and a smear test?

The HPV test detects the presence of any high risk strains of HPV, which are responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer.

With a smear test, health care providers scrape cells from the surface of the cervix and analyse them under a microscope for abnormal ones that could turn into cervical cancer.

How do I perform the test?

It  involves using a very simple self-sampling wand to collect your vaginal sample. It’s then sent off to our lab in a pre-paid envelope. We supply a full instruction leaflet with each test pack.

You should not have this test when you have your period as the results may not be accurate. It’s best to wait until a week later.

How do I get my test results?

You will receive your test results within 3 working days of your test kit sample reaching the lab.

As soon as the lab has your test results you will be notified by your chosen method, email or SMS.  There will not be any detail in this message, it will simply ask you to login to your Webmed account; using your secure password. When you have logged in you will find your confidential test results.

What will the result mean?

Negative results

If the results are negative and the test shows no high risk HPV, there is currently no risk of cervical cancer. However, it’s still important to attend your surgery for regular smear tests.

Positive results

If the results are positive, you carry a high risk HPV infection.

A positive test for a high risk HPV type does not mean that you will develop cervical cancer.

Up to 8 out of 10 people will be infected with the virus at some point in their lives but for most people, the body will clear the infection on its own and they will never know they had it.

At the moment,  a positive HPV test would not indicate a smear unless that patient was already due their routine 3 yearly (or sooner if previous abnormal) smears.

However, you should contact your GP for follow-up tests to check for abnormal cells in your cervix if you have missed your regular smear test. Women who carry the virus for a long period of time run an increased risk of cell changes and cervical cancer. Detecting an infection at an early stage allows for treatment.

How can I prevent HPV infection?

Condoms can help prevent infection with HPV, but they don't guarantee total protection as HPV can live on the skin in and around the whole genital area which won't all be covered by a condom. HPV can therefore be transmitted through sexual contact of any kind including any touching or genital to genital contact, as well as oral, vaginal and anal sex.

Recent evidence shows that having the HPV vaccine, even after you have had an infection with HPV, offers women protection from both infection with other HPV types and reinfection by the same type in the future. However, the vaccine is only available on the NHS for free until the age of 18 but you can pay for it privately at some clinics or pharmacies

If I've had the HPV vaccine, does it mean I'm fully protected?

If you have had the HPV vaccination you are protected against at least 70% of cancer causing HPV infections, but you're absolutely not fully protected. Attending smear tests is just as important if you have been vaccinated or not as it will detect abnormalities caused by other types of HPV.

How confidential is the service?

Your test kit will be delivered in plain packaging with no mention of the contents or who it's from. Your test result will be completely confidential and we will not inform anyone, including your GP, that you have used our service unless you ask us to.

DPD packaging 

This is what the packaging looks like from DPD

Royal Mail

This is what the packaging looks like when your order is delivered by Royal Mail Special Delivery

Tests for the types related to cervical cancer

Medically reviewed by
20 August 2018

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