Colposcopy again - HPV positive still


Hope I’m posting this in the right place.

I’m 29. I had my first smear in 2016. The results letter said that I had borderline changes and was HPV positive, so was given an appointment for a colposcopy. I remember being really worried whilst waiting for my appointment, and doing lots of googling about HPV and was surprised to see that so little is really known about the infection. I had the colposcopy and was told there was no evidence of abnormal cells at the time - they said the cells may have reverted back to normal on their own and I didn’t need any treatment, but was told I would need to have annual smear tests going forward. In 2017 I had another smear which came back normal - nothing about HPV as I assume I wasn’t tested for it this time as my result didn’t show any changes.

I then got pregnant and had my baby last year, so obviously a missed a smear in that year. I recently had a third smear and the result has come back low grade dyskaryosis and HPV positive.

I’ve got a few concerns:

  • Is ‘low grade dyskaryosis’ worse (more serious or severe) than ‘borderline changes’? Is low grade dyskaryosis’ likely to require treatment?
  • My smear was 10th September. I didn’t get the result letter until early December and my colposcopy isn’t until 30th - could the changes have advanced in this time?
  • I have been with my husband (and therefore no new or different sexual partners) for 10 years, so although I didn’t have my first smear until 4 years ago as I was under the age for screening until then, I’m assuming I must have had HPV for at least 10 years. Does the fact that I’ve had it for so long suggest that the changes are going to keep happening and cancer will eventually develop? As my body clearly can’t get rid of the HPV.

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any replies.


Hi Katy

Low grade is worse than borderline but, if the colposcopy agrees with the smear (and it usually does) then you will just have more frequent smears for a bit rather than treatment. At your age it is very likely to clear by itself. The changes are extremely unlikely to get any worse whilst you wait for your appointment.

As you say, we are learning more about HPV all the time. It is thought that some people surpress the virus to undetectable levels only for it to reappear later. So you may have had it for 10 years or you may have had it, suppressed it and it reappeared recently. Pregnancy is tough on the immune system and could be the reason why it has become active again - if that is what has happened. 

The good news is that you will be monitored closely so the chances of it getting so far as to become cancer is extremely remote. 

Hope this helps