Has anyone had abnormal cells but was HPV negative?

I’m just curious if anyone has had abnormal cells but was HPV negative? Cervical screening has changed based on the new HPV testing method and from what I understand they test the smear test sample for HPV first and if negative they don’t test it for abnormal cells (that scares me).

I’ve been treated for CIN 3 in January this year and I’m going back for my six month follow up post treatment soon. I have asked if I can have a biopsy to be sure the abnormal cells are gone but I’ve been advised that I’m having a colposcopy and HPV test only and that is sufficient.

My colposcopy prior to treatment was normal, the dyes did not highlight my abnormal cells or turn them white, it was the biopsy that gave me the diagnosis. Hence I am keen to have a biopsy as my abnormal cells were deep inside my cervix and not superficial. If my test comes back as HPV negative I won’t be seen again for five years. After this health scare I want to be seen yearly but I’ll have to go private to do that. I’m wondering if anyone has had abnormal cells but was HPV negative? Apparently the chances of that are small but I wish they would test the smear test sample for both HPV and abnormal cells regardless of whether it is HPV positive or negative.

I wanted to comment even though I don’t have any experience with that particular situation. But I 100% would feel the same way if I were you! That’s so crazy to me to test that way? Do you mind me asking where you are located? I’m in the US but I don’t think we test that way at all as I’ve never heard of this before.

I would be going private if it were me just to have total peace of mind. But I’m an avid worrier about health related issues, unfortunately.

I’m in Ireland but this is what’s done in England and Australia also that I know of. The smear test sample is tested for HPV first and if negative it is not tested for abnormal cells.

Interesting. (Also Ireland, I would think I’d died and gone to Heaven if I could travel there, You are so lucky I bet it’s beautiful).

Testing seems to be the opposite here in the US. We are given the smear and only checked for HPV if we show an abnormality. And then I think they routinely start checking for HPV automatically with the Pap smear once you are 30 years old. Thats how my doctor explained it to me anyways.

It seems strange how different countries test differently. Is the screening every three or five years there?

This forum’s website has the information about testing the sample for HPV first and only testing for abnormal cells if HPV positive,


From what I’ve heard, a lot of doctors say you can go every 3 years with normal smears. But for the majority it’s a yearly thing. Most insurance companies here cover 1 yearly women’s exam that includes a Pap smear, breast check, full blood work up, etc.

I’ve gone every year since I was 19 and thought that was the norm. But after frequenting this forum I see most people go every 3 years.

Hi Wonderland,

I was treated at colposcopy for abnormal cells but had no hpv.

I phoned consultant after for follow up chat and as no CIN was found after my LLETZ treatment, I don’t go for a smear till a year after.
My consultant told me that my next smear would be checked for both hpv and the cytology to see if there were cell changes.
I’m in Scotland.
I’m sure if you’ll be going to colposcopy for your next appointment you’ll be able to ask all these questions and sometimes they do a smear (I’ve had both a repeat smear and biopsy at colposcopy before at same appt).

Hope that might help a bit, but I know it can be different regionally.
Best wishes, Xx

Hi Leia1,
I had my 6months follow up post treatment last month. I expressed my concerns that I was only being offered a HPV test. I wanted a biopsy too. It was the biopsy that gave me the diagnosis of CIN 3 the first day. My cervix looked healthy during the first colposcopy and the two dyes DID NOT highlight any abnormal areas. I was given such reassurance that everything was fine until the biopsy results came back as CIN 3. They told me that my abnormal cells were deep inside my cervix hence everything looked so healthy superficially. You can understand why I’m so nervous that I only had a HPV test six months post treatment. The sample will only be tested for abnormalities if I test positive for HPV. I’m surprised you were checked for both. In my opinion that should be the case for someone that’s had abnormal cells. If my results come back HPV negative I won’t know if I have abnormal cells. That scares me. I am looking at going private for a repeat biopsy.

Hi Wonderland, I can most definitely understand why you feel anxious and I know I’d want all investigation possible as well.

As I’m in Scotland, maybe things are done differently, which makes it even more confusing but I was definitely told I’d get hpv and cytology screening as part of my next smear test. After that though, if I’m hpv negative I’ll go onto 5 yearly screening as I’m over 50,which is the topic of another thread on the forum entirely.
Have you ever used the Ask the Expert service on the forum? I found this helpful as you also select the region you’re from so you’re matched with someone who knows what the processes are in your area.

I totally understand why you’d go down the private route and it might be something I’ll also consider as it’s the anxiety that really is unbearable.
Best wishes