HPV Testing for Women

The HPV test is only available for women. Men can be infected with the HPV and pass it along to sexual partners; however, there is no HPV test for men.

The Human papillomavirus or HPV is among the strains that is considered as harmless but when it is cultured inside the human body, can cause cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women aside from breast cancer. In order to prevent this, it is advised that women who are above the age of 30 should undergo HPV testing to determine the prevalence of the virus in the body and if it may lead to cancer.

HPV Testing Details

HPV testing is a breakthrough in laboratory examinations conducted to determine the number of HPV strands in the cervix of the patient that is possible to cause cancer. Its predecessor is pap smear which is the traditional way of identifying whether the patient is cervical cancer-prone or not. Although the two methods reveal similar results, HPV testing is the most utilized because of all the cases, HPV testing detects 95% of cervical cancers while pap smear can only detect 55% of these cases. Also, HPV tests are more expensive, costing about $90 as compared to pap smears which are very affordable at $20. HPV tests use advanced technology to determine the number of cancer strands in the body and their development years.

Women are more prone to cervical cancer after their 20s primarily because this is when the body is usually retired from physical activities. When a person reaches the age of 30, the body experiences significant changes that affect the immune system causing vulnerability to various diseases brought by certain viruses. When a woman reaches the adulthood period beginning 21 years old and above, it is strongly recommended to acquire an HPV vaccine. However, this is not a guaranteed method to prevent the occurrence of cancer cells. Thus, an HPV test starting at the age of 30 is medically advised.

Before undergoing an HPV test, it is also important to conduct pre-laboratory routines such as emptying the bladder and using tampons for vaginal discharges. This is to prevent any discomfort while conducting the laboratory test and make it easier and faster. Some patients would experience side effects such as genital warts after undergoing the HPV test but this is something that is harmless and caused only by skin reactions. If the HPV test turns out to be positive, doctors would advise the patient to undergo a colposcopy. This test is conducted to determine what causes the positive result of the HPV examination and determine if it is tantamount to cervical cancer.

The HPV virus can also be acquired by men and transmitted through sexual interaction; however, there is no available HPV test for males as of the present time. Many organizations are pushing for awareness campaigns on cervical cancer as this kills thousands every year. It is also the responsibility of women to have themselves vaccinated and checked against HPV strains as is medically recommended and prevent cervical cancer.