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Confusion re Smear Test Result

(4 Posts)
PetShopGirl Wed 13-Jul-11 18:56:22

Had a smear a couple of weeks ago and just got home to find a letter saying that the cells on my cervix were normal, however the lab report showed evidence of HPV infection which can cause abnormalities and I was being referred for colposcopy.

I had an abnormal smear about 8-9 years ago which was successfully treated and yearly smears since which have all been normal (with no mention of HPV). For the sake of completeness, I haven't had a smear for two years now as have been pregnant a few times (a WHOLE other story...).

I haven't had sex with anyone else since I got together with my husband 6.5 years ago, and I'm sure that he hasn't either.

I'm really confused - why has the HPV suddenly shown up? I accept that an HPV infection may have caused my first abnormal smear, but why hasn't it shown up since? And what does it mean if it's sitting alongside a 'normal' cytology result. I'm absolutely dreading the thought of there being problems and having to have treatment - with the 2 years I've just had it seems like the final straw.

Has this happened to anyone else?

acebaby Wed 13-Jul-11 19:27:43

I may be wrong about this, but I have a feeling that they may only just have started routinely screening for hpv, which it why it may only just have been picked up. Can't answer any more of your questions though - sorry

PetShopGirl Wed 13-Jul-11 22:55:48

Thanks for responding - I had wondered if that was the case too.

Still none the wiser as to what it might mean though.

BelaLugosiinStripes Wed 13-Jul-11 23:13:51

My advice is to go to the GP and ask them to explain. It should have been explained to you at the time of having your regular smear test that it might be HPV tested and what would happen/what it means.

The reason is likely to be that in some areas they have already been trialling HPV testing. One of the ways of using it is something called "test of cure". This means if a woman is on annual repeats after treatment (which you were) at their next smear test the sample would also be tested for HPV.
It is possible for HPV to hang around in the body (for years!) but not necessarily be active enough to cause changes that would be seen in the cervical cells in the smear. The HPV test (usually) is similar technology to that used for DNA fingerprinting so it will detect the virus particles rather than the changes it can cause.
The colposcopy referral is a precaution to get you checked out. It doesn't mean that you will automatically need a treatment.

As I said at the start, my understanding of the trials is that there's supposed to be leaflets sent with the screening invite and also the sample taker was to give info and advice. We haven't started doing HPV testing yet but we're likely to so which is why I know some of what's been happening.
You will hopefully get more accurate information and relevant to you from the GP (rather than my guesswork).

Best wishes smile

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