The HPV test is a specific test that is applied to a sample of cells that is taken from the cervix of the patient being tested. The cervix is located inside the female body beyond the top of the vagina. It is round in shape and forms the lower portion of the uterus and is attached to the top of the vagina.
HPV Test Info
During the test the doctor follows the same procedure as with a standard Pap test. In fact the cell sample from the cervix for an HPV test is oftentimes also taken during a Pap test. It is up to the doctor if he wants to take a single sample and have it subjected to both the Pap and HPV test or if he wants to take a two samples, one for each test. Either way, for the purpose of an HPV test alone, only one sample is needed.
In order for the doctor to be able to easily access the cervix, the patient is required to lie down, on their back, and then lift their knees placing their heels in stirrups so they can maintain the position and be relaxed at the same time. The doctor will then use a speculum to dilate the vagina in order to allow the doctor to easily access the cervix and take a cell sample. The speculum itself takes on many different shapes and sizes, some are metal and others are plastic and disposable. The use of the speculum should not hurt in any way, it should simply give a feeling of pressure against the vaginal walls.
Once the doctor can access the cervix a sample of cells is taken from the area by using a spatula or brush. The spatula and brush are gentle instruments that are used to delicately take cells from the cervix. This, just as with the entire procedure, should not create any pain nor discomfort. It is a simple and gentle process. After this the patient is allowed to remove themselves from this position and sit normally. There is no recovery time nor activity restriction after this HPV test.
HPV Test Results
After the cell sample has been taken, the cells are sent to an independent testing laboratory. This laboratory will specialize in performing specific DNA tests to the cells in order to determine if the patient has HPV. Once the HPV test is completed the laboratory reports the results back to the doctor, who then communicates them to the patient. The time it takes to get the results varies depending on how busy the testing laboratory is at the time.