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Human Papillomavirus: Screening

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 24994, tabled on 4 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether human papillomavirus screening is able to identify specific strains of that virus.

Answered on

12 March 2020

Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing is the primary screening test used in the National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme. This can be reviewed at the following links:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/human-papilloma-virus-hpv/

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cervical-screening-programme-overview

While there are many different types of HPV, the screening programme in England uses tests to detect for HPV 16, 18 and several other high-risk HPV types. HPV 16 and 18 are the two most common high-risk strains of HPV that are found in 99.8% of cervical cancer cases. This can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/cervical-cancer/risk-factors#heading-Two.

The results from a HPV screen test will indicate to the individual whether they are HPV positive or negative and the next steps.

HPV infection is very common and most abnormalities that develop as a result will clear themselves without intervention or treatment.