HPV but been with husband 30 years.

So got my cervical smear test back, ok but says I'm postive to HPV. I've been with my husband for 30 years, I'm confident that that we both haven't cheated. 

I'm so upset, confused and annoyed that a letter can be sent out like this with no advise or direction of where to go for help. I'm going through the menapause and already struggling with depression and anxiety. 

Says I have to have another cervical test in 12 months, so what I'm I supposed to cope for 12 months. 

Also if I've had this HPV for 30 years, how's it going to disappear in 1 or 2 year's.


There are a lot of accounts of anxiety due to receiving an HPV positive result on this forum so you are not alone in this.  HPV is a tricky beast and no one knows how it's going to behave in any given individual hence the value in keeping up to date with screening tests.  I stopped going for smear tests in 2007 when I was 50y because I'd always had normal smears and felt I no longer needed them - you can see from my back story what a big mistake that was.  As you've been deferred for a year your test didn't pick up any abnormal cells - so in 2007 you would have an apparently totally normal result and would have waited for another 3 or 5 years for a smear.  Instead you will get another smear in a 12 months time which will mean any cell changes can be treated well before they have a chance to turn into cancer - which is much better than the old system.  I can't tell you how much I wish I'd a clue (as you do) that I had a real risk for cervical cancer then I'd have been motivated to carry on with screening and could well have avoided what I've had to go through with cancer treatment.  In terms of coping over the next 12 months bear in mind that cervical cell abnormalities, IF you have any, develop very slowly and it is highly likely that in 12 months time you will either not need any treatment or may need some relatively minor out-patients treatment which tens of thousands of women have every year in the UK. You have a negligible chance of getting an invasive cervical cancer which requires a lot of treatment -  as long as you keep up to date with your tests.  In terms of being infected with HPV it really is better to know than not to know - knowledge is power!


Well said Jazza! I would however like to add that 80% of people have HPV in their lifetime (so pretty much everyone). It can lie dormant for years (decades in my case) and be triggered by stress/a weakened immune system. If you are menopausal apparently the menopause makes your immune system weaker. Being diagnosed with HPV does not mean that your husband has been unfaithful. HPV first testing was only introduced in the UK last year so you may have had it for years and just not known you had it. You are not alone in being left in a state of shock and bewilderment! Jo's helpline is brilliant to support you if you need someone to explain all this more and apparently they have been getting lots of calls from women like you and me since HPV first testing came in. The last time I phoned the helpline I spoke to a lovely nurse who explained to me that it's only in the last 10 years or so that the medical profession have made the link between HPV and it causing most cervical cancers. You are not alone. Don't beat yourself up about this and don't let it get in the way of your happiness. The best thing you can do is to take care of your immune system by eating a healthy diet and give up smoking if you are a smoker as apparently this is a high risk factor. Big hugs A x

Hi 55

It seems that the link between HPV and cervical cancer was realised over 30 years ago, somewhere in the mid/late 1980s - see following link: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2008/hausen/biographical/


Does anyone know if you can test negative for HPV while it lies dormant ? In essence is it possible for you to be tested and have it without knowing until it becomes active ?