Freephone information line: 1800 45 45 55


  1. What is HPV?

  2. How is HPV found?

  3. What happens if HPV is found?

  4. How can HPV affect me?


What is HPV?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus usually spread by skin to skin contact during sexual activity. If you have ever engaged in sexual activity, you were probably exposed to HPV. Most people have HPV at some point in their lives and never know. There are over 100 different types of HPV infection. Most have no symptoms and clear up on their own.

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How is HPV found?

If your smear test shows changes in the cells of your cervix, they can be low grade or high grade. Low grade changes are common and most clear on their own. If low grade changes are found a HPV test is done your smear test sample.

If the HPV test is negative, the low grade changes are not a cause for concern. You will have your next smear test in three or five years depending on your age. CervicalCheck will write to you to let you know when your next test is due.

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What happens if HPV is found?

If HPV is found or if high grade changes are found, these are less likely to clear up on their own and a more detailed examination of your cervix is needed. This is called a colposcopy. A colposcopy is carried out in a hospital outpatient setting and is free of charge. The doctor or nurse who took your smear test will arrange the colposcopy for you.

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How can HPV affect me?

Most HPV infections clear up on their own and cause no health problems. There are some types of HPV that can cause changes to the cells of the cervix which, if not treated could develop into cancer in the future. Most women who have HPV, even the types that cause changes to the cells of the cervix, do not develop cervical cancer.

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Is cuid den tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála é CervicalCheck
Bosca Oifig Phoist 161, Luimneach
Saorghlao 1800 45 45 55
CervicalCheck is part of the National Cancer Screening Service
PO Box 161 Limerick
Freephone 1800 45 45 55

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Is cuid den Rannóg Sláinte agus Folláine i bhFeidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte í an tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála. Cuimsíonn sí BreastCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Cíoch, CervicalCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Ceirbheacs, BowelScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Putóige agus Diabetic RetinaScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Reitiní do Dhiaibéitigh.

The National Screening Service is part of the Health and Wellbeing Division of the Health Service Executive. It encompasses BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme, CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme, BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme and Diabetic RetinaScreen – The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme.