At a Glance
Why Get Tested?
Most often, to screen for infections in women with the types of HPV that are associated with cervical cancer or to follow up on an abnormal Pap smear; sometimes to detect an HPV infection in men as there is a potential correlation between HPV infection and anal or penile cancer
When to Get Tested?
If you are a woman age 30 or older; if you are a woman 21 years or older and have an abnormal Pap smear; if you are a man at high risk for HPV infection
In females, the test requires a sampling of cells from the cervical area. In males, the necessary sample involves anal swabs or brush specimens. Currently, there are no tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to detect HPV in males; however, some specialty labs have validated DNA tests for analyzing anal swabs from males.
Test Preparation Needed?
It is recommended that you do not douche or tub bathe before the test. Reschedule the test if you are menstruating. You may be asked to empty your bladder before the examination. Some doctors may request that you refrain from sex for 24 to 48 hours before the test.