What does my test result mean?
Your results indicate that you have some minor cell changes on your Pap test (low-grade changes) &/or you have one of the high-risk HPV types but NOT types 16 or 18.
These test findings are most likely to be associated with HPV infection and are unlikely to be associated with cell changes that require treatment. In this situation it is safe to wait for 12 months as the changes &/or infection are usually cleared by your body.
Your next screening test is due in 12 months
Please do not return for another cervical screening Pap test for 12 months. We will contact you and let you know three months before you are due for your next test.
However, if at any time you develop unusual bleeding, discharge or other symptoms it is very important that you see your health practitioner as soon as possible.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cervical Screening
We now know that infection over many years with certain types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer.
There are around 40 types of HPV which can infect the genital area (including the cervix). Genital HPV is spread by genital skin-to-skin contact during sex. Most people will have genital HPV at some time in their lives but never know as there are usually no symptoms and, most often, the virus goes away on its own without causing any problems.
An abnormal Pap test is often due to infection with HPV. The Pap test can find changes in the cells of the cervix before serious problems develop. These cell abnormalities can also be predicted using the HPV test, which detects the virus itself.
Low-risk and High-risk HPV
Genital HPV types are called either low-risk or high-risk. Low-risk types can cause minor changes to the cells of the cervix, or, sometimes, genital warts. Low-risk HPV types are usually cleared naturally within one to two years.
High-risk types (especially types 16 & 18) can cause more serious cell changes. They can also take longer to clear from the body. In a small number of women, infection with one of these high-risk types does not seem to clear. This is called persistent infection and can lead to significant cell changes or even, usually over a long time, cancer.
Women having an HPV test in the Compass Trial will be tested for the high-risk HPV types, including types 16 & 18.
Abnormal Pap test Results
The Pap test can find changes in the cells of the cervix before serious problems develop. It is very unusual for an abnormal Pap test to be due to cancer. Abnormal Pap test results are quite common. There are two main types of abnormal Pap test results: low-grade abnormalities and high-grade abnormalities.
Low-Grade Pap test Results
A report of low-grade abnormalities means minor cell changes were found. These changes are common and are usually cleared by the body, though this can take around 12 months. Most low-grade abnormalities are due to infection with HPV.
When you receive your results we hope that you are also given or sent a purse-sized card to keep with you to remind you when your next test is due. Please keep this card and show it to any future health practitioners you might see especially if they suggest a screening test earlier than the date shown on the card. It explains when you are due for another test, and reminds your practitioner what to do. If you did not receive one of these cards, please contact Compass on 1800 611 635 and we will send you one.