Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test
How It Is Done
An HPV test can be done in a doctor's office or clinic by:
- A Reference gynecologist Opens New Window.
- An Reference internist Opens New Window.
- A Reference family medicine physician Opens New Window.
- A Reference urologist Opens New Window.
- A Reference physician assistant (PA) Opens New Window.
- A Reference nurse practitioner Opens New Window.
For this test, you need to remove your clothes below the waist and drape a paper or cloth covering around your waist. You will then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by stirrups. This allows your doctor to examine your vagina and genital area.
Your health professional will insert an instrument called a Reference speculum Opens New Window into your vagina. The Reference speculum Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window gently spreads apart the vaginal walls, allowing the inside of the vagina and the cervix to be examined.
Your health professional will then use a cotton swab or a small brush to collect several samples of cells from the cervix. Cells are collected from the visible part of the cervix as well as cells from inside the opening of the cervix (endocervical canal). The samples are then placed in collection tubes and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
An HPV test can also be done on a cell sample taken during your Pap test if a technique called a liquid-based Pap test was used. For a liquid-based Pap test, cells are collected by rotating a plastic brush on the cervix. The samples are then placed in a jar of solution and sent to a lab for examination. If you have this type of Pap test and it shows abnormal cells, an HPV test may be done later on the same sample.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 21, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology