Just received my smear results and I'm confused?

Hi, this is my first post so I do apologise if this isn’t correct.
It’s Saturday morning just now and I’ve just received my results from my smear test on 9th December, because it’s Saturday I can’t call anyone for help understanding so I came here.

My letter says they tested for high risk HPV, which they did not find. It then goes on to say they also checked for changes to the cells in my cervix and no changes were found. So far so good, I understand this.

What I don’t understand is the next part. “No changes were found but we would like you to come back for another screening test in 12 months to test for HPV again”. If HPV weren’t found, and no cell changes were found, why am I being asked to have another test in 12 months as opposed to the usual 3-5 years?

I’m not sure if this is relevant but I was being treated for thrush for over a month when the nurse took a swab to confirm and it came back everything was fine so my thrush treatment has stopped and I’ve been left in limbo since my smear screening back in December.

I’m also not sexually active at all. For 7 years now. The doctors and nurses know this as it is on my records and I tell them each visit. I’m 32.

I’m just really confused why I need another screening in 12 months when everything I can find online indicates it’s usually recommended to repeat the screening every 5 years when no HPV or changes are detected? I’ll be phoning my GP surgery on Monday for clarification but I was hoping for some suggestions to ease my mind in the meantime.
So sorry for taking up your time and thank you for reading!

Hi Naj,
That does seem odd as I thought that they check for HPV first and if it is negative then they don’t check for cell changes. I thought they only check for cell changes when HPV is found. Are you sure the result is HPV negative?
I know how anxiety provoking it all can be but it does sound like your results are all good. I’m sure you will feel better once you get clarification from your GP.
Best wishes,

Thank you for your reply! The surgery will be calling me this afternoon to clear this up however the letter definitely says “your sample was tested for high risk human papillomavirus (HPV), which we did not find. We have also checked for changes to the cells in your cervix(neck of the womb). No changes were found, but we would like you to come back for another screening test in 12 months to test for HPV again”

That was literally the context of the letter with the rest telling which website to go to for more information, but the website says it should be repeated in 5 years if no HPV found?

It’s a bit strange but I’ll update when the nurse calls me today, just for anyone in the future who finds this and is looking for any answers.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond!

It is possible to have abnormal cells and not have HPV. It’s rare, but it can happen. Have a talk with your nurse today. It’s best that you have a 12 month follow up for any abnormal or borderline cells, HPV or not…

I hope the GP surgery can clear up any confusion for you this afternoon lovely.

Thank you to everyone who replied, it means a lot.
The nurse was originally confused too as she also verified I was negative for HPV and had no cell changes, and thus I should have been referred in 5 years. She had to get back to me after speaking with the screening clinic and we got to the bottom of it!

This update is for anyone who might read this in future. It turns out I had completely forgotten I had an abnormal smear result back in 2014, followed by a repeat test and then a colposcopy followed by biopsy as I DID have changes to my cells back then(not sure when HPV testing started but I don’t think it was available in Scotland by then). The biopsy was fine in the end and my next smear was clear so I forgot all about it! Its because of my past from 2014, I’m being advised to do annual smear tests. The nurse didn’t explain for how long I would be doing annual tests, just that I’ve been placed on the annual list for this reason.

Moral of the story, don’t let your smear tests run late if possible. If you get invited for one, get it! I had missed a test and this one was late. If I hadn’t missed any, I doubt I would need annual testing now. It’s simply the precautions of the NHS to be safe but I’m definitely currently all clear :slight_smile:
Thanks again everyone!


Glad you got the information you needed. It sounds like you’re being well monitored as a precaution, which I think is great. Glad you can relax now. Xx

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Well it’s good they’re keeping an eye on it. Usually the stories are of people being ignored. When you posted this my only thought it was hpv but not a high risk one so the lower risk strains :woman_shrugging:t2: