Women can do HP virus test at home

2013-08-12 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Women can now test for the potentially deadly human papilloma virus (HPV) at home, after ordering the new UDoHPVTest — either by cellphone or online.

The results are not immediately available as is the case with a pregnancy test, but the sample has to be sent to a laboratory for analysis within 24 hours. The test results are then made available to the client online, with an interpretation as well as a recommendation.

If the test is positive for the virus, it does not mean a woman has cervical cancer, but that she is at high risk.

Two types of this virus cause most of cervical cancers, but other types can also cause different cancers. The human papilloma virus can be treated.

Professor Greta Dreyer of the gynaecological oncology unit at the University of Pretoria said the new test is more effective than pap smears that are normally used to check for cervical cancer. A pap smear checks for abnormal cell growth, while the new test checks just for the papilloma virus. While the test itself is not new and is available at pathology laboratories, the self-testing and delivery service at home is new.

Dr Karin Richter, medical virologist at the University of Pretoria, said the new test is acceptable.

The tests costs R699, excluding courier charges of R180, or postage fees of R50.

Clients can get six free sessions with a medical councillor, which are conducted either in person or telephonically.

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