An HPV test is used for the detection of high risk strains of HPV in women. This test is used as the primary tool for screening as an adjunct to Pap smear. An HPV test detects the viral DNA that contains the genetic information for HPV, and finds abnormalities that can lead to cancers.
HPV TEST: Hybrid capture Test: (FDA approved)
Hybrid Capture Test is a commercially available HPV test. There are two types of Hybrid Capture tests:
- Hybrid Capture Test I: For research purposes, for the detection of low-risk types.
- Hybrid Capture Test II: For detection of high-risk types. (Accuracy rate is 95%)
Hybrid Capture Test II is the commonly used important test for HPV detection.
An HPV test is performed on a sample of cells collected from the cervix. The sample is collected with a brush or swab in the same way as it is done for Pap test. The sample is then taken to the lab for proper investigation and analysis.
- Do not use a douche, tampons, or vaginal medicines for at least 48 hours before the test.
- Empty the bladder just before the test for convenience.
Positive results mean that the person is a carrier of one of the 13 types of the high-risk strains. It does not necessarily mean that you are going to have cancer.
- HPV test can detect about 18 types of HPV.
- This test can differentiate between the low-risk and high-risk types.
- The procedure is quick and not very uncomfortable.
- This test cannot determine the specific HPV types.
- This test cannot tell the exact number of HPV virus.
- It is not cost-effective.
The HPV test is not widely accessible. Therefore, it is performed only in certain circumstances. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the following instances merit a follow-up HPV:
- For cervical cancer screening in women over 30 years of age whose Pap smear showed abnormalities.
- For women who are 21 years or older and have certain abnormalities on a Pap smear known as “atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance”.
HPV infects men and women equally, but this test is only for women.