If you were determined to have HPV or human papilloma virus on your pap test or in some other way, it’s very important that your healthcare provider work with you to determine which type of HPV. So there’s low-risk types of HPV, which ultimately go on to become genital warts or warts in the mucus membranes, and there’s high-risk or oncogenic types of HPV, which are higher risk because they go on to become cancers. They can become cancer in the vaginal area, the cervix, the genital area, the anus, or even the oral pharynx, the mucus membranes. And if you’re determined to have HPV and your doctor determines it to be a high-risk type of HPV, there are very specific guidelines as to when to have repeat testing, maybe to give your immune system a chance to mount a response and clear or reduce the HPV. And if you’re determined to have HPV on multiple tests, or you also have pap test abnormalities, your doctor will make a recommendation for you to go on and have what’s called colposcopy or a microscope examination of your cervix.
And this involves having a look at your cervix, having a speculum inserted and a microscope, examining the cervix and then application of acidic acid or vinegar. And the vinegar allows the abnormal cells that the HPV may be causing to be visualized under the microscope for your doctor to see if any areas look suspicious that become whitened under the vinegar solution. Under the microscope, your doctor will take a little pitch biopsy and the pitch biopsy is, a very little bit of tissue, like the lead of a pencil. And it’s sent to the pathology to determine if the HPV has caused changes on those cells. So ultimately if you have HPV, it’s determined to be a high risk type. You will be asked to have colposcopy or a microscope exam. And based on that microscope exam, you may have further testing.