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Private Pay HPV Testing

LifeLabs is offering private pay human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in BC. Here is what you need to know about HPV testing and cervix screening.

The Cervix Screening Program does not recommend private pay HPV testing at this time. The current BC cervix screening guidelines effectively prevent and detect cervical cancer for those eligible. Cervix screening is recommended for anyone with a cervix, including women and transgender people, living in BC. Those at average risk of developing cervical cancer should be screened every three years with a Pap test.

Screening every three years with a Pap test effectively prevents and detects cervical cancer. Screening is most effective when done regularly with coordinated follow-up. Pap test results are captured by the Cervix Screening Program and allows the program to provide follow-up recommendations and recall you for future screening. A one-time HPV test and its result will not be captured by the Cervix Screening Program, and proper follow-up and recall for screening will not be possible.
HPV testing is not insured by BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP) and is currently only available on a user-pay basis at $90 per test. The recommended cervix screening test (Pap test) is covered by MSP.
Cervical pre-cancer and cancer are caused by high-risk types of HPV. Testing for high-risk HPV can identify those at higher risk of having pre-cancerous changes of the cervix. However, it will also detect transient HPV infections (those that come and go on their own) that will not cause pre-cancerous changes.
The Cervix Screening Program is exploring HPV-based screening for women ages 30 to 69 years old. It is important that all aspects of patient care and education, health care provider education, and cervix screening program operations are coordinated and prepared before a major testing change is introduced.

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