Cervical cancer: What are the limitations of the HPV test?

False positives and negatives: As with all tests, there is a small risk of false positive and false negative results. To reduce this risk, avoid unprotected vaginal sex, using spermicides or lubricants, or douching, in the two days before testing. Please note that if you have been newly infected by HPV, your viral load may be too low to be detected by the test. 

Non-HPV cervical cancer: A very small proportion (0.3%) of cervical cancers aren’t caused by HPV. The HPV test will not detect these rare cancers. 

Detecting abnormal cells: This self-sampling kit is not suitable for detecting abnormal cells. A smear is required for this.

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