The HPV test is carried out using the same sample of cells taken during a cervical screening test. In the laboratory the cells are analysed for current HPV infection.

The HPV test is important because it identifies women with a high risk type of HPV. If a woman contracts high risk HPV and this becomes a persistent infection then she has a higher possibility of developing abnormal cells and thus should be monitored more closely to reduce her risk of developing cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer.

The HPV test is carried out using the same sample of cells taken during a cervical screening test. The results of the HPV test combined with cervical screening cytology (examination of the cells under a microscope) enable faster investigation of those at higher risk of developing cervical cancer, and reassurance of those at very low risk. The test can also reduce the number of unnecessary screening appointments and colposcopies among women with borderline/mild cervical screening cytology results or who have been treated for abnormal cells.

In the laboratory, the sample of cells is analysed for high risk HPV infection. If the cells have been infected with HPV, the test will give a positive result for high risk HPV types.

You can read more about HPV testing by downloading our HPV testing factsheet.


"Testing for HPV." Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. N.p., 19 Aug. 2013. Web. 02 Mar. 2015.