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Understanding Your Results


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Cervix Self-Screening Results 

We will mail your results 4 to 6 weeks after you return your kit. You can also see your results online at Health Gateway

What happens when HPV is found? This depends on the high-risk HPV type found in your sample. There are about 15 high-risk HPV types that are linked to cancer.

Result: No HPV 

If your result shows no high-risk HPV was found, this means that you are very unlikely to have abnormal cells in your cervix. You do not need another screen for five years. 

Result: HPV 16 and/or 18

You will be referred to a specialist for a colposcopy. This is when a specialist uses a special microscope to take a closer look at your cervix.

It's rare for someone with a HPV 16 and/or 18 result to have cancer.

Result: Other high-risk HPV types

A health care provider will do a Pap test to see if there are any abnormal cells on your cervix. Pap test results will help health care providers monitor you closely to see if the HPV clears on its own or causes any changes to your cervix.

Result: Repeat test

It is possible there was an issue with how your sample may have been collected or there was not enough sample to provide a result. A new kit will be mailed to you. 

Pap Test Results 

Your health care provider who collected the Pap test sample will send it to the lab to be examined under a microscope by specially trained professionals. Some of the sample collected will either be checked for signs of abnormal cells or HPV, or both. This will depend on factors such as your age and health history.

Your results will be sent to you and your health care provider. You can also see your results online through Health Gateway. You can find the current turnaround time for results

Depending on your result, you may:

  • Need to repeat cervix screening, when recommended, to check if the HPV infection has cleared on its own
  • Be referred for a follow-up test, called a colposcopy, to look at your cervix more closely.
Remember, having abnormal cells or HPV does not mean that you have or will develop cancer. But, it’s very important to attend any follow-up appointments. The earlier abnormal changes are found, the easier they are to treat and the less likely they are to develop into cancer.


Learning that a high-risk HPV type was found may cause many feelings and raise a number of questions. Having HPV does not mean you have or will develop cervical cancer. 

If further testing shows you do need treatment to remove abnormal cells caused by HPV, it’s simple and very effective.

Your questions

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection causes almost all cervical cancers. HPV is usually harmless and clears on its own, within about 2 years. If cervical cancer is going to develop, it usually takes 15 to 20 years.

HPV is a common virus that spreads through sexual contact. This includes intimate touching, oral, vaginal and anal sex.

There are more than 200 different types of HPV, many of which are harmless. But, a long-term infection with high-risk types, like HPV 16 and 18, can lead to cervical cancer. HPV types 16 and 18 cause about 70 out of 100 cases of cervical cancer.

If you’ve had any kind of sexual contact in your life, even with one partner, there’s a good chance that you’ve come into contact with HPV. It can appear soon after exposure or years later, making it hard to know for sure when HPV was passed or by whom.

It’s your choice whether or not you tell them. HPV is very common and most people who are sexually active will get HPV at some point in their life. In fact, about 3 out of 4 sexually active Canadians will have at least one HPV infection in their lifetime.

There is no treatment for the HPV infection itself. Most of the time, HPV goes away on its own without any symptoms or complications.
Anyone with a cervix and who are between the ages of 25 and 69 should screen regularly for cervical cancer. 

If your partner(s) doesn’t have a cervix, there is no need to check for HPV as they cannot get cervical cancer.
Getting regular screening can help prevent cervical cancer. Watch our patient stories to learn more.

  1. HPV vaccine: getting the vaccine can help prevent the most serious types of HPV infections. To learn more, visit
  2. Use condoms: although condoms don’t completely prevent you from getting HPV, they help lower your risk. They also protect against other sexually transmitted infections.
  3. Don’t smoke: smoking may hurt the body’s ability to fight HPV and other infections.

SOURCE: Understanding Your Results ( )
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