This might seem like a fairly straightforward question, but the answer is fairly complicated.

The short answer is: yes, you do need a smear test. It is highly recommended. But the reasons why are complex.

Over three thousand people are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the United Kingdom, and many of them are virgins. That’s because you can get the human papillomavirus (HPV) – a virus that can cause cervical cancer – even if you are a virgin.

HPV causes most forms of cervical cancer. HPV is asymptomatic in most cases, making it difficult for those affected to receive appropriate treatment. Fortunately, a simple screening at your doctor’s office can reveal whether you’ve been affected so you can receive the treatment you need and lower your chances to develop cervical cancer.

If you’re concerned about HPV and cervical cancer, order Better2Know’s HPV Home Test Kit today.


How can a virgin get HPV?

It is important to distinguish what makes someone a virgin from someone who is sexually active.

A virgin, by many definitions, is someone who has not engaged in penetrative sexual activity.

However, you may contract HPV while technically remaining a virgin. There are many other forms of sexual activity that do not involve penetrative sex. These sex acts can increase your chances of contracting HPV. Some of these acts include:

  • Intimate skin-to-skin contact, even without penetration
  • Sharing sex toys without proper sanitisation
  • Skin-to-mucous contact between partners

While these behaviours may not affect whether a person technically remains a virgin, they are all still examples of sexual activity. So while you don’t necessarily need to get tested if you’re a virgin, you may still choose to do so if you’ve engaged in any of the behaviours mentioned.

Although you can still get a cervical cancer diagnosis if you are a virgin, it is unlikely. If you are diagnosed with HPV, your chances of developing cervical cancer will increase if your condition is left untreated.

What are the risk factors for developing cervical cancer?

Risk factors for developing cervical cancer include:

Developing an HPV infection

  • A history of smoking
  • Having a weakened immune system due to HIV or other conditions that impair immunity
  • A history of multiple pregnancies
  • Having a family history of cervical cancer
  • Having had other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s)
  • Taking oral contraceptives for an extended period of time

Additionally, women over the age of 30 are more at risk of develop cervical cancer than younger women due to decreased rates of screening in this age group.

How do I get tested for HPV?

The most common way to be tested for HPV is through a Pap smear, which involves collecting cells from the cervix and examining them under a microscope.

You may also get an HPV DNA test that collects cells from the opening of the vagina and cervix to search for certain types of HPV virus.

You may also opt for an at-home HPV test, which involves collecting a sample with a swab or brush and sending it off to a laboratory for testing. Better2Know offers two at-home tests for HPV: one that identifies 6 types of low risk HPV, and one that identifies 14 types of high risk HPV.

Whichever type cervical screening of test you choose to get, understanding what type of HPV you may have is essential for taking steps to protect yourself from further infection and potential long-term health risks.

Will an HPV test hurt if I am a virgin?

Many people may experience minor discomfort during an HPV test regardless of whether or not they are a virgin. First, your healthcare provider will perform your HPV test by inserting a speculum inside the vagina. After insertion, the speculum adjusts to expose the cervix. Then, your provider gently scrapes the sides of the cervical canal to gather a sample of cells. This sample is placed inside a container and sent to a laboratory for inspection. While it can take several weeks to receive your lab results, gathering the sample takes just a few minutes and is not painful.

In addition, cervical screenings are no longer called “smear tests.” Instead, cervical screenings are considered HPV tests. An HPV test looks for any evidence of human papillomavirus, while a smear test checks for precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix. In other words, an HPV test takes place first, and if the results come back positive, then a cervical screening is done. If you receive a negative HPV result, the time between screenings can change from three to five years. 

If you are at all concerned about your status and would like to get tested, you can choose a clinic online and book a screening today. Empower yourself with the knowledge you need to take charge of your health and future.

You can book an STI screen with Better2Know to test yourself and your partner(s) for various STIs.



  1. Cancer Research UK
  2. National Library of Medicine
  3. Gov.UK

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