There are 3 main types of result from HPV primary screening:
1. No HPV found (hrHPV negative)
If no HPV is found then no further tests will be done. If you don’t have HPV, it is highly unlikely that you will have any abnormal cervical cells. Even if you did, it would be extremely unlikely that they would cause a problem. You will simply be called back for screening again in 3 – 5 years’ time (depending on your age).
2. HPV found (HPV positive) but no abnormal cervical cells found.
If HPV is found, the sample will also be tested for abnormal cervical cells. If none are found, your result will say you have HPV but no abnormal cells. You will be asked to come for screening again in 12 months’ time. This is so we can check that your immune system has cleared the HPV (this happens in most cases). If it hasn’t cleared, you may be at greater risk of developing abnormal cells. If the HPV infection continues you will be referred for colposcopy.
3. HPV found (HPV positive) and abnormal cervical cells found.
There are several grades of abnormal cells. Your result letter will explain what your results mean. If you have HPV and any grade of abnormal cervical cells you will be referred for colposcopy. Colposcopy is a closer examination of the cervix. It is carried out in a similar way to cervical screening. If you are invited for colposcopy, you will be sent an appointment letter to attend this clinic.
It is also possible to have an ‘inadequate’ result. This may be due to a technical problem, such as if the laboratory cannot get an HPV test result from your sample or cannot see if abnormal cells are present or not.