HPV not found but insufficient sample


I wonder if someone can help me make sense of my results.

For background, i was diagnosed as HPV+ and CIN1 last year.

I had my 1 year follow up smear in March this year, which i have just received results from. The results say that HPV was not found. The letter also says they checked for cell changes in my cervix but not enough cells were taken, so ive to return for another test (which has been done as i had my results from my doc before i received the letter).

Im confused as the nurse said to me that if HPV was not found they would not test for cell changes? But the letter says they didnt have enough cells to check?

Are they checking for cell changes because of my results last year?

I live in Scotland and the letter is very vague and the enclosed leaflet isnt giving any answers to my situation.

I will call the Dr soon for clarification but its hard to get an appointment so once again im reaching out for any advice.

Many thanks!

J x

Yes, you are right - they are checking because you had CIN1 last year. Don’t worry, it’s more common that you might imagine that smear samples are ‘inadequate’ and wastes NHS time and money every year. This is generally due to the taker not being thorough enough, but there can sometimes be contaminants that obscure results (creams, blood, fungal infections, douches, etc).

Nothing to worry about but make sure you go back and get it taken again.

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Thank you so much @Jacks133 , your support and clear information is always appreciated :blush:

I dont understand this though because I had cin 3, 3 years ago had laser done to remove the cells and a folllw up smear, which came back as clear with negative hpv- it was originally positive, but when I had a smear done 2 weeks ago (which was 3 years from treatment) they said Hpv negative and haven’t tested cells - so while I agree the hpv is negative what about if there is abnormal cells there, they’ve told me to go back in 2025

There are established protocols for follow-ups; these are generally reliable, which is why they are used. Of course sometimes there are things which are not picked up, as my case shows - but these are rare and with me we’re talking about 20 years and no testing for HPV for all but the last year - or I would have been followed up differently…

You had successful treatment for CIN3 three years ago and on the follow up were HPV negative and all was well. If you are again HPV negative now three years later there is nothing to suggest cells have again developed an abnormality, hence you are back on the three year follow up system. It’s a good result for you and no reason for you to think it isn’t. Well done for kicking HPV!

Thank you for replying very helpful, I’m very pleased with my results and I feel very lucky and glad the Hpv has gone and stayed away but I think when you’ve been there and done it with the treatment there’s always an element of doubt and I just would have felt more reassured if they had tested the cells aswell and 3 years seems a long time