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A person can test themselves for human papillomavirus (HPV) with an at-home HPV test. Studies suggest that at-home HPV tests are as accurate as tests that doctors provide, but they may not test for all strains of HPV.

This article discusses HPV, whether or not at-home HPV tests work, some options to try, and when to contact a doctor.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI).

The CDC estimates that approximately 80 million people in the United States currently have HPV and that a further 14 million people contract it each year.

A person can contract HPV through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

According to the CDC, 9 out of 10 cases of HPV will go away on their own within 2 years.

However, when HPV does not clear up on its own, the CDC warns that it may cause several types of cancer. These include:

A person can go to a doctor’s office to be tested for HPV. They can also get a vaccination against HPV at a doctor’s office.

Alternatively, a person can try an at-home test, which may provide an easier option for those with busy schedules or limited access to clinics or health insurance.

This article discusses everything a person needs to know about at-home HPV testing, including which brands are available, how accurate the tests are, and when to contact a doctor.

HPV tests check for the presence of HPV. At-home HPV tests typically provide a swab so that a person can collect a small sample from the cervix or vagina. A person then sends the sample back to a laboratory that tests for several high risk strains of HPV.

In one 2019 study, researchers found that collecting and testing urine samples may also provide a reliable way to screen at-risk populations for HPV.

However, larger studies are still necessary to fully prove the effectiveness of urine-based HPV testing.

Preliminary studies suggest that at-home HPV testing can help improve outcomes for people who otherwise may not be able to get regular screenings.

One 2016 study concludes that at-home HPV tests were as accurate as tests that doctors provide.

However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 100 types of HPV, with 14 high risk types that may cause cancer. At-home HPV tests do not test for all strains.

According to a 2019 study, mailing home kits to females who otherwise may not get regular screenings helped increase the number of cervical cancer screenings. The researchers recommend further studies on how to most effectively send out testing kits.

A study from 2017 had similar results. The researchers suggest that several factors may make at-home tests effective early screening tools.

These factors include:

  • convenience
  • cost effectiveness
  • privacy
  • ease of use

However, companies that make at-home HPV tests warn that, if possible, people should not use them in place of regular Pap smears or other screenings.

There are several companies offering at-home HPV tests to choose from.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.

LetsGetChecked

LetsGetChecked offers several home tests to choose from, including a test for HPV and others for several other STIs.

This at-home HPV test looks for several high risk strains of HPV. The kit includes a cervical swab and packaging that a person can use to send their test back to the company on the same day.

People are able to use their health savings accounts (HSAs) to purchase one of these kits.

Learn more about LetsGetChecked here.

Everlywell

According to its website, Everlywell offers an at-home HPV test that looks for 14 high risk strains of HPV.

A person can order an at-home HPV test on the Everlywell website. The company sends the test through the mail after a doctor has reviewed and accepted the person’s order.

If the doctor does not think that an HPV test is suitable for that person, they notify Everlywell, and the company issues a refund.

A person can follow the instructions in the test kit to collect their sample before sending it back to Everlywell through the mail.

The Everlywell test kit uses a vaginal swab to collect samples.

The company sends the results to the doctor who approved the test. The customer then receives the results via the secure Everlywell platform. They can choose to share their results with a doctor if they want advice.

Learn more about Everlywell here.

Health Testing Centers

Health Testing Centers offer a variety of home test kits to screen for several STIs, including HPV. Females take a sample from their cervix, and males take a urine test.

According to the company’s website, the tests check for the most common forms of high risk HPV that may develop into cancer.

To order the test, a person selects the test they need and the laboratory they want to use.

After paying for the test, the person needs to visit their local laboratory or have their at-home test kit delivered through the mail. According to the company, the person receives their test through the mail within 5–7 business days.

After taking the test, the person returns their test to the laboratory they chose. They then receive their results via email.

A person may be able to use their HSA to buy a test, but they cannot claim a test on their health insurance.

To use a test kit correctly, a person can follow the instructions provided with the test kit they purchased.

LetsGetChecked includes specific instructions on its website indicating the days on which a person can use the test.

For example, it states that a person should only take the test:

  • on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday
  • 48 hours after sexual intercourse
  • when they are not on their period

Other companies that offer tests, such as Home Testing Centers, do not specify the days on which a person can take the test.

A person may wish to contact a doctor for regular sexual health screening.

HPV may not always cause symptoms. However, the CDC states that symptoms can include small, raised warts on the genitals. If a person notices any new growths on or around their genitals, they may wish to contact a doctor.

The CDC also recommends that people get the HPV vaccine to protect against this STI. This vaccine is suitable for children aged 9 years and older and adults aged 18–26 years.

Older adults who have not previously been vaccinated against HPV may also wish to contact a doctor about getting vaccinated.

If a person gets a positive result from an at-home HPV test kit, they should contact a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will conduct additional tests and advise on the person’s next steps.

HPV is an STI that does not always show symptoms. Without treatment, some strains can lead to cancer. There are several at-home HPV tests available that can help detect high risk strains of HPV.

A person can order an at-home HPV test online, perform the test at home, and send it back to a laboratory to get their results.

At-home HPV testing may help expand access to important sexual health screenings.

People who are at risk of contracting HPV may wish to consider getting regular sexual health screenings with a doctor, as not all at-home HPV tests screen for every type of HPV.