Home HPV Test Kits
Convenient swab testing for HPV
Prices from £60.00
Order a test kit through Asda Online Doctor and you will get a quick reliable service with free follow-up advice in case of a positive result.
HPV home testing has a number of benefits compared to testing in person, including:
✓ no booking or waiting for an appointment
✓ no travelling to take your test sample
✓ take your test outside GP or clinic office hours
✓ no face-to-face conversations
Our test kits are 94% accurate and check for all high-risk strains of HPV.
The HPV test kit is a cotton swab test kit that allows you to take your test sample at home. Unlike the HPV smear test, the home test kit does not require a speculum or a sample from inside your cervix. The home test kit comes with detailed instructions about how to collect your sample and where to send it.
Once you’ve taken your sample and sent it to our partner lab, they can test it. They run tests to detect the presence of the HPV virus on your sample and they send the results back to us and we pass them on with advice to your patient account.
Why is it important to get tested for HPV?
It is important to get tested for HPV because some HPV viruses can cause cervical cancer. HPV is the name given to a group of common viruses that can be spread through skin-to-skin contact around the genital area.
Most people will get infected with HPV at some point in their lives and it can affect everyone, no matter their sex, gender identity, or sexual preferences. Although most types of HPV do not cause cancer, high-risk, persistent types can, so it is important to get tested.
HPV screening isn’t a test for cancer, but a test that can help prevent it. The HPV smear test checks the sample of cells collected from your cervix for some specific high-risk types of HPV. These can cause abnormal changes in your cervical cells.
If you’re not sure how to get tested for HPV, you can buy at-home test kits, but these do not replace the need for regular HPV screening with your doctor.
How is HPV diagnosed?
HPV can be diagnosed through a variety of tests, including:
- a Pap test: The most common form of cervical screening, also known as a Pap smear, looks for early cell changes that could lead to cervical cancer.
- an HPV test: The HPV test analyses a cell sample to see if HPV is present. This is the type of test included with our test kit service.
- a colposcopy: This test is usually performed if cervical screening identifies changes to your cells that are caused by HPV. During a colposcopy, a speculum is used to gently open the vagina and a microscope is then used to look closely at your cervix, and a small sample of cells, called a biopsy is taken.
Differences between pap tests and HPV tests
The HPV and Pap tests are not the same test. They check for different things and detect cervical cancer risk at different stages. Here are some of the common differences between HPV and Pap smear tests:
Pap smear test HPV test
Looks for cervical cell changes that could become cervical cancer
Looks for human papillomavirus that may cause changes to cells in the cervix
Detects HPV only after it causes cell changes
Detects HPV before it causes cell changes
Performed by a doctor or nurse
Can be done at home
4 in 10,000 women develop cervical cancer if they only have a pap smear test
1 in 10,000 women develop cervical cancer if they only have an HPV test alone or in combination with a pap smear
Around 80% accurate (when routine screening is done over 10 year period)
Around 93% to 94% accurate
The home HPV test looks for the 2 most common high-risk HPV types 16 and 18. The test also tests for other high-risk strains; HPV 26, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 66, 68, 69, 73, and 82 as a panel, so you’ll get one result for these other high-risk types (either positive or negative for any of these).
This may be different to the NHS cervical screening programme which tests for the high-risk types 16 and 18. Your NHS screen may or may not include some of the other high-risk types.
The smear test does not test for HPV itself, but looks for abnormal cells in your cervix that may be caused by high-risk HPV types.
HPV is very common in the UK. It is estimated that around 80% of people will be infected with HPV in their lifetime. First episodes of genital warts, which is caused by HPV, was the third most commonly diagnosed STI in the UK in 2022.
% of STIs diagnosed in 2022 Change since 2021 Chlamydia
In the UK, HPV screening was fully implemented in December 2019. Cervical screening started much earlier, in 1964, but not in a routine way. Screenings were only done ad hoc by doctors and high-risk cases weren’t followed up properly.
It wasn’t until 1988 that the NHS implemented a cervical screening programme following a rise in cervical cancer deaths in women over 35. By the mid-90s, routine cervical screening had become part of standard public health practice.
How many people have HPV in the UK?
Roughly 80% of the UK population will be infected with HPV in their lifetime. Research shows that cervical cancer rates had dropped by 87% in young women who had been eligible for the HPV vaccine. The same study estimated that the HPV vaccination programme had prevented 450 cancers and 17,200 pre-cancers by the middle of 2019.
You can buy an HPV test kit from online doctor services like Asda’s. The steps below show how to test for HPV with us:
- Order your test kit online
- Collect your sample according to the detailed instructions in the kit
- Seal your sample in the test tube
- Post your sample to our partner lab
- You should receive your results within 7 working days
- One of our registered doctors will provide advice on next steps
What are the benefits of home HPV test kits?
An HPV test at home has many benefits over an in-person consultation. For example:
- You can do it yourself, without a face-to-face meeting with a healthcare professional.
- You do not need to travel to a clinic or surgery since it can be carried out in your own home.
- It can be done at any time and you do not need to wait for an appointment.
Asda Online Doctor also offers a convenient service including free follow-up care from our doctors through your patient account. There is also no need to leave the house to collect your test kit as we will discreetly deliver it directly to your chosen address.
How to buy an HPV test kit online?
Requesting an HPV test online from Asda is a simple process, just:
- fill out our online health questionnaire
- log in or create an account and pay for your order
- your answers and your test kit request will be checked
- once your request is approved, your test kit will be delivered directly to your door within 24 hours
The process of ordering is quick, simple and highly secure. There is no need to leave your home to order, test or collect your test or results.
The home HPV test is a quick and effective test kit for detecting the presence of HPV, although it shouldn’t replace your routine smear tests. Once you’ve sent your sample to our lab, it’s tested for the presence of HPV.
The test works using molecular diagnostic testing to identify any HPV present in your sample. If your sample is collected properly, this kind of HPV testing can provide accurate results because it uses advanced molecular genetics to find the HPV DNA load in the provided sample.
How to test for HPV at home
Testing for HPV at home is simple. The test kit comes with:
- detailed instructions for use
- cotton swab or brush
- test tube
- packaging to send the kit to the lab
To take your sample:
- wash your hands beforehand
- remove the swab or ‘sampling wand’ from the test tube and make sure the white tip doesn’t touch anything
- carefully insert the cotton swab into your vagina
- rotate the cotton swab fully once while inside the vagina
- let the swab dry for 3 minutes without letting the white end touch anything else
- open the sample tube and put the white end of the swab inside
- close the sample tube and stick your label to it before putting it inside the prepaid envelope to post to the lab
Because the swab does not need to be inserted into the cervix, like traditional smear tests, most women find this HPV screening painless.
For more detailed advice on taking your sample see these instructions which are also included in your test kit.
When do the symptoms of HPV start showing?
HPV testing is part of the cervical screening offered to women in the UK. Women aged 25 to 49 will be invited for screening every 3 years and women aged between 50 and 64 will be invited every 5 years.
It can take weeks or even months for HPV to be detected in you. Many people carry the virus without realising it, so you may not experience any symptoms. You should get tested for HPV if you have had unprotected sex or know you have come into contact with HPV. You should wait a few weeks to be tested after the event to ensure the virus is detected during testing.
How accurate are at-home HPV tests?
No cervical screening test is 100% accurate but if used correctly at home HPV tests can be highly effective at detecting HPV. HPV swab tests are about 80% accurate overall.
Research published in the British Medical Journal found that self-sampling HPV tests were as accurate as clinician samples at detecting HPV. At-home test kits are also more effective at reaching women who have not attended their cervical screening appointments.
Women who have had unprotected sex or have knowingly been exposed to HPV should consider an HPV test. There is currently no reliable HPV test for men, but men who have sex with men can have an anal pap test. The test looks for anal precancerous cells, including tests for high-risk strains of HPV in the anus.
The importance of HPV screening
HPV screening is important because certain types of HPV can turn into cervical cancer. So, screening can identify if high-risk types of HPV are present in a sample of cells. This means you can be monitored for abnormal cell changes and treated before they have a chance to turn into cancer cells.
The link between HPV and cervical cancer
There are many types of HPV and over 30 can infect the human genital tract and there is an established link between some HPV and cervical cancer. HPV16 and 18 are responsible for most HPV-related cancers. These types are associated with more than half of cervical precancers. Almost all incidences of cervical cancer are caused by HPV infections.
It is estimated that 10% of women who are infected with HPV in their cervix will develop recurrent HPV infections that increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. There were around 604,000 new cases of cervical cancer in 2020 but it can be cured if it is diagnosed at an early stage.
HPV is passed on through sexual contact and most sexually active men and women will become infected at some point in their life. Most cases of HPV will clear up on their own and most precancerous lesions will too, but HPV screening and Pap smears are an effective way to detect HPV and abnormal cell changes early.
If your body is unable to get rid of the HPV infection, it can remain in your body for a long time and cause normal, healthy cells to turn cancerous.
How long does HPV take to be cancerous?
In women who are normally healthy, it can take 15 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop. But in women who have weakened immune systems, this can be reduced to 5 to 10 years.
Even though it can take some time for high-risk strains of HPV to cause cancer, they can act faster. So, it’s important to screen regularly and test if you’ve been exposed to HPV through unprotected sex.
Who is at high risk for HPV?
HPV is very common and anyone who is sexually active is at risk of infection. But you are at higher risk if you:
- have had lots of sexual partners
- have had unprotected sex
- have not been vaccinated against HPV
When you receive your HPV test results they will usually be positive or negative. If you test through Asda Online Doctor, one of our doctors will provide you with a detailed follow-up explaining what your results mean.
How long do HPV test results take?
At Asda Online Doctor, once our partner laboratory has received your sample, you should receive your results within 7 working days.
What does a positive HPV test mean?
If you have a positive HPV result, it means high-risk HPV types have been found in your sample. Because you are currently infected with HPV, you will need a follow-up appointment with a doctor to discuss the further tests you’ll need to have.
How common is a false positive HPV test result?
There is a small risk of a false positive HPV test result. That means the test may show that you have an HPV infection when you don’t. HPV testing has a specificity rate of 94%, which means it has a false positive rate of about 6%.
Generally, Pap smear false positive rates are higher. Research shows that the lifetime risk of false positive results for cervical screening is 35.1% for annual, 13.4% for 3-yearly, and 8.3% for 5-yearly screening.
If you have a positive HPV test result you will need to discuss your results with a doctor. You may need a colposcopy to see if you need any treatment for abnormal cell changes.
As part of the Asda Online Doctor service, you will be offered advice on next steps following a positive HPV test.
What is HPV treatment?
There is no specific HPV treatment available for the virus itself, but there are treatments for the health issues HPV can cause. Most HPV infections do not cause any problems or symptoms and usually go away on their own within 2 years. But HPV can cause genital warts or abnormal cell changes in your cervix, which may need treatment.
For example, genital warts can be treated with prescription medication. The type of treatment you will be offered will depend on the appearance and location of warts but can include:
- Warticon – a topical cream applied directly to genital warts containing the active ingredient podophyllotoxin
- Aldara 5% Cream – a topical cream applied directly to genital warts with the active ingredient imiquimod, which works by stimulating your immune system to attack the genital wart cells
Condyline was also a treatment option for genital warts until it was discontinued.
There are different treatments available for removing abnormal cervical cells, such as:
- large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ)
- needle excision of the transformation zone (NETZ)
- cone biopsy
- surgery to remove the womb (hysterectomy)
- cold coagulation
- freezing treatment
- laser therapy
How to prevent spreading HPV
Although you cannot fully protect yourself against HPV spreading, there are some HPV prevention strategies you can use to lower your risk. Tips for the prevention of HPV include:
- using condoms during sexual activity – condoms offer some protection but not fully as they do not cover all of the skin around the genitals
- getting the HPV vaccine when you are offered it – although the HPV vaccine protects against most types associated with causing genital warts and cervical cancer, it doesn't protect against all types
- attending your cervical screening appointments
- taking HPV tests when you think you’ve been exposed to the virus
- avoiding sharing sex toys and washing them when you have used them
The importance of open communication with partners
It’s up to you to tell your partner you have been infected with HPV. Most people will be infected without knowing, but if your partner is a woman they can then test to see if they have a strain of HPV that puts them at risk of cervical cancer.
Things to consider when telling your partner:
- let them know it is very common – most people carry the infection without realising
- there is no test available for men, but there are HPV tests for women that can tell them if they have an increased risk of cervical cancer
- it does not necessarily mean you have been unfaithful as HPV can remain in the body for a few years and it’s almost impossible to tell when you got it or who from
- if you or your partner have genital warts symptoms, you may need treatment for that too
HPV stands for human papillomavirus and is the name given to a group of common viruses. In most people, HPV doesn’t cause any problems, but in some instances, it can lead to genital warts or cervical cancer.
There are over 100 different types of HPV but types 16 and 18 are responsible for causing most cervical cancers and are known as high-risk HPV types.
What is HPV?
HPV is a very common virus. Around 80% of people will be infected with HPV at some point in their life. It can affect anyone, both men and women, who are sexually active and it’s spread through sexual contact.
In the majority of cases, HPV will not cause any symptoms, but some people can develop genital warts, the most common viral STI in England. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV.
➤ See our page on what do genital warts look like for more information.
Regular screening can help spot HPV infection early and allow doctors to monitor for any abnormal cell changes in your cervix to stop them from becoming cancerous.
What are the symptoms of HPV?
Usually, HPV does not cause any symptoms, so most people who have it do not realise it. If you’re a woman and you think you’ve been exposed to HPV, don’t wait for symptoms before testing.
In some cases HPV can cause genital warts, which are growths that appear around the anus, penis or vagina. The symptoms of genital warts include:
- single or groups of warts may appear and can look like a cauliflower
- small rough, lums around the vagina, anus, or penis
- painful sex
- sometimes they may be painful or itchy
- finding it difficult to pee
How is HPV transmitted?
HPV can affect the mouth, throat or genitals and is spread through sexual contact. You do not need to have full, penetrative sex to catch HPV from your partner.
HPV is spread by:
- any genital skin-to-skin contact
- sharing sex toys
- vaginal, oral, or anal sex
You can get HPV the first time you have sex.
How long can a man have HPV for?
HPV can lie dormant for months or even years, even if symptoms do not occur. In many cases, your immune system will fight off and clear the virus from your body within 2 years. According to research, the overall prevalence of genital HPV infection in men aged between 18 and 59 is 45.2%.
Frequently asked questions
Does everyone with HPV get a colposcopy?
No. It depends on what your local screening guidelines say. Check with your GP and see what they advise. You may need to follow up your result privately if your local guidelines do not align with private HPV screening.
How long can you live with the HPV virus?
Most people will become infected with HPV in their lives and it will not cause any complications or symptoms. In most cases, your body will get rid of the infection for you, but in some cases, it can lead to genital warts which may need treatment from your doctor. You can live your entire life with HPV.
Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, so it is important to attend your cervical screening and test yourself with an online HPV test kit if you think you may be at risk of infection. Cervical cancer is serious, but if found early can be treated.
How does HPV make you feel?
Most people will not experience any symptoms and most people do not realise they have it. But in some cases, it can cause genital warts that can be painful or itchy. You may also feel embarrassed if you have HPV, these feelings are normal but it is important to remember that 80% of people will become infected with the virus in their lifetime.
If your results show you have abnormal cell changes, it’s normal to feel upset, scared or angry. Try to confide in someone you trust or speak to your doctor about counselling services that may be available.
Is HPV an STI?
Yes, HPV is an STI. There are over 100 different types of HPV and around 40 can affect the genital area. The infection is passed on through direct sexual contact, but not just penetrative sex.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 25 Aug 2023
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Cervical cancer: What are the benefits of HPV tests for cervical screening? (2017) NIH [accessed 04 August 2023]
Cervical Screening Programme - 2019 -29 [NS] (2021) [accessed 04 August 2023]