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Can I be tested for HPV?

HPV testing is most effective for women 30 years of age and older. There is currently no approved test for HPV in men.

While HPV infections are very common in women under 30 years old, most of them clear up on their own and are unlikely to result in abnormal cervical changes that could lead to cancer. Testing of young women is more likely to result in unnecessary diagnoses and treatments.

image of a young woman talking to a doctorHPV tests check for high-risk types of HPV

These tests are usually used to identify women who are at high-risk of having precancerous changes and developing cervical cancer. Research shows that HPV testing is more accurate than the Pap test in finding precancerous changes in the cervix. Researchers are still trying to find the best way to use the HPV test as a part of cervical cancer screening. Pap tests are an effective way to find cervical cancer.

HPV tests are available in some areas of Canada. In provinces that use HPV tests as part of their cervical cancer screening programs, they are generally used as a follow-up to abnormal Pap test results.

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