Diagnosis of HPV
Because most people do not experience any problems associated with HPV infection, the virus usually is not diagnosed unless a health care provider screens for HPV or suspects the virus is causing another condition, such as genital warts or abnormal cell changes that could lead to cancer (e.g., cervical dysplasia) and tests for infection.
The HPV DNA test may be used in conjunction with the Pap test to screen for high-risk HPV in women over the age of 30. This test, which can detect HPV in cell DNA before changes to the cells occur, involves taking a sample of cervical cells and sending them to a laboratory for analysis. The HPV DNA test is not used routinely to screen for HPV in women who are younger than 30 years of age.