What is the HPV Home Test?
Infections with the human papilloma virus (HPV) can lead to cervical cancer. In addition to the conventional smear test carried out by a GP, women of 30 years or older can also test themselves for the presence of HPV by means of an HPV Home Test. This test looks for the types of HPV likely to cause cervical cancer. The HPV self-test allows you to perform your own smear test in the comfort of your home. Within seven days your test results will be available online.
Many people do not know the difference between an HPV test and the conventional Pap smear. In short, the Pap smear looks for abnormalities in cervical cells while the HPV Home Test looks for the types of HPV likely to cause cancer. In both cases, a smear test is performed. The advantage of an HPV test is that it is much more sensitive than the Pap test in the early detection of potential cases of cervical cancer caused by HPV.
What is this test used for?
HPV is found in the skin tissue of the genital area or in the mucus membranes of the cervix, and is passed on from one person to another through unprotected sex. There are different types of HPV. Some types of HPV infection can cause genital warts; other types can cause cervical cancer. In most cases, HPV infection goes away on its own. If it doesn’t, the infection can cause abnormalities in the cervix cells. Some of these abnormal pre-cancer cells may develop into cancer if left untreated. The HPV self-test allows you to detect HPV infection in the cervix and thus reduces the chance of cervical cancer. If cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, there is a very good chance of a cure.
How to use the HPV Home Test
Many women dread going to their GP for a smear test. If you are one of these women, a home test can be an alternative that is more comfortable for you. With the HPV Home Test you can perform your own smear test in the privacy of your home at a time of your choosing. The test is also very easy to use. The HPV test-kit includes a vaginal brush, code card, plastic seal bag and return box. Use the brush to collect some vaginal secretion. For precise instructions, see the package leaflet. Technique is important and poor technique may miss HPV that could be there. The procedure is not painful or complicated: it isn’t terribly different from inserting a tampon. The brush and the sample should be sent to a laboratory in the return box. Do not forget to stick the code sticker on the brush. After seven days, you can view your results online using the log-in details on the code card.
Results of the HPV test
If the results of the test show that you have an HPV infection, you should contact your GP for further testing or advice. Do not be alarmed: a positive result does not mean you have or will get cervical cancer. However, it is important that you have your cervical mucus checked for abnormalities regularly.
The HPV Home Test has no side effects whatsoever.
When not to use the self-test
The HPV Home Test is only intended for use in women. A vaginal discharge sample should preferably be blood free in order to detect HPV infection. Do not perform the test during your period. The HPV Home Test should not be used by women who are pregnant or who have had a baby in the last three months.