The relationship between abnormal Pap tests and HPV (Human Papilloma Viruses)

Abnormal cervical cell changes are usually thought to be the result of past HPV infections.

One can simply look at HPV viral infection on the cervix as if it were viral infections associated with colds and ‘flu.  This means, after a brief period of infection, the viruses are cleared by the person’s own immune system and is usually of no consequences.

The difference to colds and ‘flu is that the person usually has no symptoms with the infection.  The problem is that certain types of “high risk” HPV viruses can incorporate the viral DNA into cervical cell DNA structures and with time lead to more and more abnormal changes and finally cancer change.

It is thought the HPV viruses are usually sexually transmitted, but unlike other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea, HPV viruses do not cause tubal obstructions or infertility.  As the cell changes can take some time to develop, it is impossible for doctors to say when the infection happened or which ex-partner was the culprit.

There are many different types of HPV viruses.  Only some types of HPV cause cervical cell changes.

Posted in: Common Queries Regarding Gynaecology