HPV self-sampling in Region Västmanland

Självprovtagning för HPV i Västmanland - engelskaThe content concerns Västmanland

If you are 30 years old or older and it is time for your cervical screening (also known as smear test or Pap test), you will have a self-sampling kit sent home to you. Then you can take a sample yourself at home instead of seeing a midwife. This gives just as accurate results. If you prefer to have a midwife take your sample, you must contact your midwifery clinic to make an appointment.

What the test results will show

Your sample will be tested to find out if you have HPV (human papillomavirus). What the test result will show is if your sample contains HPV or not. If you have an HPV infection for a long time, this can cause cellular changes in the cervix (the opening to the uterus from the vagina).

Cellular changes in the cervix

Such cellular changes often heal by themselves, but some types need to be treated because otherwise they may develop into cancer.

If you have been vaccinated against HPV

You should be tested even if you have been vaccinated against HPV. This is because the vaccine does not protect against all HPV types that can cause cellular changes.

When NOT to use an HPV self-sampling kit:

  • If you are pregnant – then a midwife should take the sample.
  • If you have had your uterus removed surgically.
  • If you want a midwife to help you take the sample.

How to take your sample

You take your sample using a cotton swab.

  • Insert the swab about 5 cm (2 inches) into your vagina.
  • Run the swab along the vaginal wall and turn the handle a few times.
  • Put the swab in the test tube and break off the handle.
  • Screw on the cap and put the tube in the enclosed envelope.
  • Post the envelope in a regular post box.

The self-sampling kit includes detailed instructions.

If something went wrong with the sample

It is unusual for something to go wrong with a sample. If this has happened, you will receive a letter with an appointment for a visit to a midwife, who will take a new sample.

It is not possible to order a new HPV self-sampling kit

If something has gone wrong with the self-sampling equipment (for instance, if you have spilled the liquid from the container), you cannot order a new self-sampling kit. Instead you must contact your midwifery clinic to make an appointment for sampling.

What happens after you have taken your sample?

If your test shows that you have HPV, you will be given an appointment with a midwife for additional sampling about four weeks after your first sample was analysed. The midwife will take samples from the cervix which will be tested for HPV and for cellular changes.

If it turns out that there are cellular changes in your cervix, you will be given an appointment with a doctor for further examination.

If you do not have HPV, you do not need to do anything more.

An HPV sample that you have taken yourself gives just as accurate test results as one taken by a midwife

Long experience from scientific studies shows that self-sampling for HPV is just as accurate as HPV sampling by a midwife.

You can perform sampling just as well as a midwife can

When self-sampling for HPV, you do not need to go as deep into the vagina to take the sample as a midwife does. It is enough to turn a swab a couple of times inside the vagina. This will collect enough cells to make it possible to analyse if there is HPV in the sample or not.

Since I have had cellular changes before, I am particularly anxious that the sampling will be correctly performed. How do I know that I can manage on my own?

If you have recently had cellular changes that need to be checked more often than under the regular screening programme, you will not be offered HPV self-sampling. However, if you have had cellular changes before and they are being monitored under the regular screening programme, you may be offered HPV self-sampling.

Who will be offered HPV self-sampling?

You will be offered to perform HPV self-sampling if you are 30 years old or older and have not recently had any cellular changes. If you are not offered HPV self-sampling, you will be given an appointment with a midwife for sampling under the regular screening programme.

What is the difference between a cellular sample taken by a midwife and one taken through HPV self-sampling?

A midwife taking a sample collects cells from the cervix and the vagina. Self-sampling for HPV only involves collecting cells from the vagina. In other words, you do not need to collect cells from the cervix when self-sampling. In fact, this is impossible to perform on yourself.

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