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What is HPV cervical screening?

A test to find high-risk types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can cause cervical cancer. HPV is spread through any kind of sexual contact with a man or a woman. Anyone with a cervix can get cervical cancer. A HPV cervical screening test looks to see if you have high-risk types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

To do the test, the GP or nurse will gently put a smooth, tube-shaped tool (a speculum) into your vagina. This holds the walls of the vagina open so they can see your cervix. They may use a small amount of lubricant. They open the speculum so they can see your cervix. Using a soft brush, they take a small sample of cells from your cervix. They remove the speculum and leave you to get dressed.

The test takes about 5 minutes. They will send your cell sample to a quality-assured lab for testing. You’ll usually get your results within 4 weeks of your screening test.

HPV cervical screening is not a test for cancer – it’s a test to see if you are at risk of developing cervical cancer in the future.

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