Gynecology / Women's Health Expert Forum
Concerned and confused about hpv test
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Concerned and confused about hpv test

Hello, I recently had my 6 week postpartum visit and my doctor asked if I wanted to do the hpv test along with an annual pap so that we could possibly wait a few years before repeating pap assuming both tests were negative. This test was never offered to me before.

The doctor called last week and said the pap was normal but I tested positive for hpv 16 and should have a colposcopy as this is a high risk strain.

I'm 36 years old and have had the same partner for 11 years.  I have always had normal paps with the exception of 12 years ago, but went on to have a normal pap 6 months after that. I am losing sleep with worries that I could have cervical cancer from a longstanding hpv infection.

I'm confused too. I thought the virus cleared within 2 years? Is this coming up more with this new combined testing? Do colonoscopies tend come back abnormal in this situation?

My husband and I went through years of struggle trying to get pregnant and finally were successful with ivf and using donor sperm. It's been a stressful few years and I would really like to focus on my new baby. My test isn't for another week and I imagine the results aren't given immediately.

How worried should I be? Any reassurance would be great. Thanks for your time.
603463_tn?1220630455
Hi!
If you were my patient, I would advise you that the hpv test is new.  We have begun to offer the test to women over 35 only within the past few years and mostly so that we can increase the interval between paps.  It is possible that the donor sperm may have carried the hpv virus, it is also possible that you have had the virus for more than 11 years. It is possible that your husband also has the virus for a very long time with no symptoms.
Colposcopy is the correct next test to do in your case--your doctor is right.
HOWEVER, the possibility that you have cervical cancer is extremely low given your history of normal paps.
Usually the hpv virus IS cleared within a few years, but sometimes it lingers and in the case of the high risk virus that has NOT been cleared, we need to do careful surveillance.  Your colposcopy results will very likely be normal OR very mildly abnormal in the worst case scenario.
I hope I have answered most of your questions.
By the way, congratulations on your new baby and don't lose any sleep over this--you need all the sleep you can get with a new baby in the house!
Dr B
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Thanks so much for your response. I really do need all the sleep I can get!
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