HPV Types 16 and 18. How often should women be checked?

Hello! It seems to me that every woman has heard about the Human Papilloma Virus in recent years, maybe because of dysplasia and cervical cancer. Maybe, but it won’t necessarily cause it. However, dysplasia with confirmed presence of HPV in the body requires treatment and closer monitoring. I write “dysplasia” to clarify it, but modern doctors, who constantly improve their professional level, have not used the diagnosis “dysplasia” for a long time. Few people decide to get tested independently, especially since it doesn’t cost 300 rubles. Most often, the gynaecologist sends him for CA125 testing. And he sends it if he finds erosion or more significant changes in the woman’s cervix on the chair.

Like any other virus, the human papillomavirus is a tiny structure that penetrates a cell. There, it multiplies and infects nearby, neighbouring cells. Thus, the virus creates even more copies of itself and infects more cells.

Is it possible to understand that there is an STD virus in the body? Most often not. More precisely, not even that.

HPV is present in all people! You could go through life without knowing it existed, but some types of the virus, and there are many, can lead to plantar warts, skin papillomas, or vaginal and vulvar condylomas. Typically, these changes aren’t dangerous and don’t progress to CA125-type cancer. Removing is not necessary. 

The virus falls into two main groups: low-risk and high-risk:

Low oncogenic HPV risk types, including 6, 11, 40, 42, 43, 44, 54, 61, 72, and 81, and high oncogenic risk types, such as 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 68, 73, and 82.

All of them rarely cause severe illness. Most often, viruses from this group lead to warts in the mouth, neck, genitals and around the anus.

Most cancer cases cause only 2 types: 16 and 18. 

After 30 years of age, a smear must be taken once a year, but some gynaecologists recommend once every 3-5 years.

Before you go for analysis, you need to follow several rules.

▪️Wait for three days before having sex.

▪️Avoid douching if it’s someone’s practice.

▪️Refrain from using lubricants or strongly scented intimate hygiene products.

▪️Avoid washing with antiseptics like Citeal during travel.

▪️Do not go to the toilet 2-3 hours before taking a smear. I came to take the CA125 test already with a full bladder because, during the hour of travel, I had already wanted it three hundred times. 

▪️Do not use vaginal suppositories 2-3 days before the study.

▪️ You cannot carry out analysis during menstruation.

The study is similar to a smear for oncocytology.

The CA125 doctor will take a scraping from the surface of the cervix and cervical canal using a special cytobrush equipped with a removable head. After scraping, the lower part of the brush is separated and placed in a special solution for transportation.

They also take an analysis from the walls of the vagina using a special probe – a tampon or a combined probe equipped with a soft part. Another option is scraping from the urethra. It is taken using a thin probe with a removable part, which is separated and placed in the solution.

Please note that most often, doctors do not bother much with explanations and say: “Get tested for HPV.” So what should I do?

If you take it for the first time, you need a quality analysis. This study will determine the presence of a specific HPV strain in the body. The decoding of types 16 and 18 will have the word “detected” or “not detected.”

If the result is positive, then an additional CA125 test is prescribed – quantitative analysis. To find out how many oncogenic types are present, that is, the viral concentration.

There is also an advanced analysis of HPV 16 and 18 (DNA and quantity). In this case, the total number of high-oncology-risk HPVs is detected, as well as the number of HPV 16 and 18 separately. But all this also depends on the laboratory. 

So, please watch carefully and ask your doctor what you must do.


Journey with Disease: A Personal Account

Hi all!

In 2009, I became a mother for the first time, and 1.5 months after giving birth, during an appointment with a gynaecologist, I discovered that I had erosion. Surprisingly, my hospital did not even conduct an HPV smear test, let alone provide treatment for it. Naturally, I went to a private clinic.

Initially, I underwent a qualitative exam followed by a genotyping analysis. It revealed that I have HPV type 18, which left me feeling uncertain about what it meant. I read that:

“HPV is one of the most common viral infections affecting the urogenital region. When type 18 becomes integrated into the human genome, it initiates the growth of benign tumours, which could potentially evolve into cancer over time. Types 18 and 16 of HPV are found in 70% of women diagnosed with cervical cancer.”

Do I need to say how much stress I experienced when I decided to look on the Internet what it was? I am a suspicious person and buried myself alive in the first weeks.

Naturally, at that moment, they began to treat me with antiviral drugs – Panavir, acyclovir, Viferon, Kagocel and a bunch of other things. But! No matter how much I was treated, the virus did not go away.

In April 2010, I removed rainwater erosion. A month later, I went for a CA125 checkup and took all the tests again. And lo and behold, there was no virus! My joy knew no bounds. I sincerely believed that removing the source of the virus—erosion—saved me.

Understanding and Maintenance

But now I know the virus is mostly transitive and leaves the body alone within 6-12 months.

Naturally, after my acquaintance, I take this CA125 test every year and undergo oncocytology to avoid missing it (you never know). Since 2010, the virus has not been detected, and I hope it stays that way!!

If you find out you have HPV, don’t worry! Keep up with your regular visits to the gynaecologist, get the necessary tests done!! Focus on strengthening your immune system.

The analysis is painless and quite reliable, but it is expensive. But you must admit that health has no price.

Thank you for your attention!