I felt I had no other choice but to go private.

I, like many others, have come to learn that I have had persistent HPV Tests and infection for over 10 years (8 years confirmed via screening), and I am hoping what I’m about to type can be helpful to others riding the same wave.

Here’s my history:

  • 2015 first STD test – the cervical screening programme was piloting HPV primary testing in my area. Results: positive, no abnormalities, 12 months recall.
  • 2016 – My results letter did not mention HPV, so there wasn’t a test! Results: normal cytology back in 3 years.
  • 2018 – I had severe anxiety as I had just found out a friend of mine had been testing positive and was offered screening every 12 months. I fussed with my GP and requested they take another smear; luckily, the lab didn’t reject it. The results were positive, with no abnormalities. Back to routine recall?!
  • 2021 – Results: positive, no abnormalities, 12-month recall. Compared to others, I was so unhappy with the lack of follow-up since my first invite. I raised my concerns with my GP (who was pretty clueless) after reading that after 3 positive results, you should be invited to colposcopy. My STD Home Test was concerning. At this point, I mentioned on a couple of occasions I had some brownish spotting mid-cycle (I may have overplayed this and realised it was highly likely to be ovulation-related). I had no other choice but to play on this to get an HPV Urine Test and a cancer specialist to see me. With my history, my GP requested a referral to colposcopy, which the hospital rejected, and then attempted to refer me to the gynaecology clinic, which was also rejected!

The crippling anxiety

I felt I had no other choice but to go private. The anxiety of having had this for so long (reading “most” people clear with HPV Lab Test within 1-2 years isn’t helpful!) was consuming way too much of my mental capacity. I didn’t buy that it went away in between screenings and coincidentally “came back” just in time for my next STD Profile Test and smear (as my GP suggested). I’ve tried everything to boost my immune system, AHCC back in 2015 and again in 2018 for 6 months both times (when it was affordable!); in 2021, all types of vitamins from high dose vit c, folate, b12, gut boosting visits, vit E, turmeric, beta-glucans, and the rest…drank green tea, ate healthily, exercised.

I threw everything I could to boost my immune system to fight this thing, and nothing worked.

Ultimately, I found a consultant who could treat the infection on Harley Street in London using Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) with high success rates (75% clearance), providing it is just that, or at most CIN1. I got a colposcopy at my consultation. I also had an HPV Panel Test and cervical cytology, and I had HPV 18 with normal cytology. I’d be a good candidate for the TCA treatment. I had the treatment a month later. He called me back for another colposcopy and HPV/cytology screen 4 months later. They all came back negative, which was back in October 2021. I thought I’d wait for my NHS recall before I posted to triple-check, and I received those results this weekend, which are also negative for it!

I’ve realised that not everyone is fortunate enough to afford private follow-ups. I wasn’t sure whether it would be helpful to post my story and treatment, which not everyone can access, but I couldn’t post the success of this treatment in the hope that it will help someone in the future.

Most of us will have this infection in our lifetime.

We’re far more likely to get at least one type of HPV Swab Test than not.

 It usually goes away without affecting the body, and we often.

We don’t even know that we have it as it causes no symptoms. Cervical screening tests for HPV. This means some women and people with a cervix will be told they have it on their results letter. This experience can be straightforward, but we know this isn’t the case for everyone. The majority of calls to our Helpline include HPV Home Type Testing. We hear daily from people who experience a wide range of emotions, decisions and thought processes after being positive for a test. For a few, it can be truly life-changing.

We set out to better understand the breadth of STD Full Tests and experiences through research, one-on-one interviews and focus groups. What we’ve discovered is set out in this report, along with recommendations to improve the diagnostic experience and the support offered afterwards. They may be just a handful of stories, but they represent the views of countless women.

Once I heard a bit more about HPV, I realised this was common and relaxed a little bit.”

Almost everyone has it, so don’t worry!”

Our research found that half of those diagnosed have never heard of it. This can make coping with results from the very first cervical screening extremely difficult.

Antonia, 28

“I remember the letter said

It can cause cell changes, and long-lasting HPV can result in cancer. The word I remember most was ‘cancer’. I broke down in the living room in front of my mum. I’d never heard of it before that point and started googling it immediately. It said STI, and I thought I’d done something wrong. Explaining it to people was hard as I didn’t get it. There were many questions, and I had no idea if I’d had the vaccine or what that would have meant.”

Kavita, 28

It was really surprising to learn I had HPV. The only knowledge I had of it at the time was that I had had all three of my jabs at school for these STD Panel issues. I thought the jabs would completely prevent me from getting it! I was worrying about what it would mean. No one had taught me about it at school. My doctor told me nothing about it when I attended my smear test. I just had to google and figure it out myself. Because I’m so open about HPV Kit Testing, I’ve taught many of my female friends about it. They did not know what it was,, and it was surprising how little they knew.”