Human papillomavirus

Also known as: HPV

A human papillomavirus (HPV) test is done to find a high-risk HPV infection in women. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). An HPV test checks for the genetic material (DNA) of the human papillomavirus. Like a Pap test, an HPV test is done on a sample of cells collected from the cervix.

There are many types of HPV. Some types cause warts that you can see or feel. Other types do not cause any symptoms. Most people do not know they have an HPV infection.

This test will identify whether a high-risk type of HPV is present. In women, high-risk types of HPV (such as types 16, 18, 31, and 45) cause changes in the cells of the cervix that can be seen as abnormal changes on a Pap test. Abnormal cervical cell changes may resolve on their own without treatment. But some untreated cervical cell changes can progress to serious abnormalities and may lead to cervical cancer over time if it is not treated.