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How is Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Diagnosed?

Diagnosing HPV involves examinations like vinegar test, Pap test, and DNA testing. Treatment options include medications and surgical procedures.

  • 13 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read

The human papillomavirus is a common cause of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and can result in genital warts. High-risk HPV, which can cause cervical cancer, is more prevalent in the lower uterus, where a baby develops during pregnancy. Cervical cells are used in HPV testing to diagnose high-risk HPV infection, assisting healthcare practitioners in understanding the risk of cervical cancer. Knowing whether or not you have HPV allows you to discuss the necessity for further testing and the frequency of cervical cancer screenings. High-risk HPV infections can live in the body for years, if not decades, and can lead to cancer, so an early HPV diagnosis is crucial for the safety of the individual.

Diagnosis of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Your doctor might be able to identify an HPV infection by looking at your warts.

If there are no visible genital warts, one or more of the subsequent examinations will be necessary:

  • Test using vinegar (acetic acid): The vaginal area infected with HPV turns white when treated with vinegar. This could help identify flat lesions that are hard to spot.
  • Pap test: Your doctor removes cells from your vagina or cervix so they can be examined in a lab. Abnormalities that cause cancer can be found with Pap testing.
  • DNA testing: This test, which uses cervix cells, can find high-risk HPV strains' DNA, which has been linked to genital cancers. For women over 30, doctors recommend this in addition to the Pap test.



Warts frequently disappear without treatment, especially in youngsters. However, because there is no treatment for the virus, it might recur in the same or other locations.


Wart removal medications are often placed directly to the lesion and require many treatments before they are effective. Here are several examples:

  • Salicylic acid: Over-the-counter salicylic acid treatments work by eliminating layers of a wart one at a time. Salicylic acid can cause skin irritation when used on common warts and should not be used on your face.
  • Imiquimod: This prescription ointment may help your immune system fight against HPV. Redness and swelling at the application site are common adverse effects.
  • Podofilox: Podofilox, another topical medication, acts by eliminating genital wart tissue. Wherever podofilox is administered, it may produce burning and irritation.
  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA): This chemical therapy removes warts from the palms, soles, and genital area. It has the potential to induce local irritation.

Surgical and other procedures

If drugs do not work, your doctor may advise you to remove warts using one of the following methods:

  • Cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen)
  • Electrocautery (burning with an electrical current)
  • Surgical removal
  • Laser surgery

Treatment for HPV Diagnosis in the cervix

A colposcopy is a gynecologist-performed procedure that examines abnormal HPV or Pap tests. The doctor takes samples and biopsies any suspicious parts of the cervix using a magnified cervix. Freezing, laser, surgical removal, loop electrosurgical excision process (LEEP), or cold knife conization can all be used to eliminate precancerous lesions. LEEP removes a piece of the cervix with a tiny wire.

Also read:


The human Papillomavirus diagnosis requires a variety of tests, drugs, and procedures. Regular tests, especially for high-risk HPV, are critical for detecting possible risks such as cervical cancer. Understanding HPV's impact on health underscores the importance of informed decisions and how to tackle the issue financially. This may result in considerations for health insurance coverage, which is a smart way to go to deal with the procedures without stress.

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