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I have been referred for a coloscopy as I have had a borderline smear test and in my area they them test for the hpv virus, which was positive. Does this necessarily mean that I have the strain that can lead to cervical cancer? The letter said I may be more likely to develop cervical abnormalities in the future. Before this I hadn't been for a smear for 5 years, so I'm glad I went - but I'm a bit worried now! Has anyone else experienced this or know whether it means that I have one of the high risk strains of hpv?
Don't worry. Most people who are sexually active have or have had HPV at some point. Its a virus which can either cause genital warts ( lower risk strains) or cervical abnormalities ( higher risk strains). The smear has picked up some changes and the point of the colposcopy is to work out how far those changes to your cells have gone. They usually classify the changes in 3 levels (1,2,3). If it's CIN 1, it's very mild and you'll prob be sent away for 6 months. If it's any higher, you will prob be referred to have them removed under local. (the abnormal cella are usually 'lasered off'. I had this done. You are in the system now and will be looked after. HTH
I had a colposcopy Monday, my fourth! it really is no more uncomfortable than a smear, you can even watch the procedure on a screen, they put a solution on the cervix which will now up any abnormal cells as white. Depending on what they see will depend on what they will do.
My first colposcopy they just had a look and sent me away again, the next two they took a couple of biopsies, they get you to cough and I can honestly say it was like a pinch, that's it. Two weeks later you get the results.
They only generally treat CIN 2&3 as anything less sometimes resolves itself, they will certainly keep you in six monthly smears like I have been.
Information about HPV testing can be found on the NHS CSP website and information about HPV, abnormal results and colposcopy here and here.
If you've previously had normal smears and the colposcopy shows no abnormal changes then you may be given a three year recall. The rationale of HPV testing is to get you asssessed quicker and as allfornothing says have treatment if needed. Generally the statistics show around 20-25% of women with borderline cytology and HPV positive have CIN2 or 3. If that is the case it's very treatable.