What are the tests necessary for checking an HPV infection?

Diagnostic tests for women aim at examining the epithelia of the lower genital tract in order to discover whether they have been infected by HPV, but mostly to see if there are any premalignant lesions.

The tests which your physician might recommend are:

  1. Gynaecological examination
  2. Pap test
  3. Colposcopy
  4. Biopsy
  5. Molecular tests to find the HPV DNA, mRNA and other molecular tests (such as p16, Ki-67, etc).

Only genital warts are visible to the naked eye during a simple gynaecological examination, and they are also usually palpable because they protrude from the skin and mucous membranes. Genital warts are as a rule benign and the majority of them are caused by low-risk types of HPV. Premalignant lesions are not visible in a simple clinical examination, with the exception of a small percentage of premalignant lesions on the vulva. Of course, advanced cancers are detectable in a gynaecological examination. Appropriate prevention however is imperative, as it leads to the detection of premalignant lesions, which are treatable. Treatable lesions are those located on the surface, which means that they have affected only the epithelium.