What is HPV and Genital Warts?

The Human Papilloma Virus is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection that affects both men and women. It is important to get tested regularly. There are over 140 types of HPV. Some strains are linked with the development of cancer in the vagina, vulva, penis and anus. Your risk of Cervical Cancer increases if you are consistently infected with high-risk types of the virus, particularly HPV-16 and HPV-18. Other strains are associated with causing skin conditions such as genital warts – the second most common STI in England.

Genital warts can be managed with various treatment methods, including creams. They can also be removed through processes such as cryotherapy (freezing). Repeat courses of treatment may be required to fully remove the infected tissue. Better2Know can help you arrange confidential treatment, if required.

How is HPV and Genital Warts transmitted?

HPV is transferred through an exchange of infected bodily fluids or through skin-to-skin contact. The virus can be transferred during unprotected sex including vaginal, anal and oral contact.

What are the signs and symptoms of an HPV infection?

  • Genital warts are a symptom of an HPV infection
  • Warts are skin growths that can occur in or around the genitals or rectum
  • Warts often take the form of small, red or pink growths – that resemble raspberries or cauliflowers 
  • Other types of HPV, especially high-risk strains, usually show no symptoms

You can develop precancerous lesions that may progress into cancer if your HPV infection remains undiagnosed. This makes getting tested vital to protecting your personal health.

Did you know? …

Over 3,000 cases of Cervical Cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, almost all of which stem from an HPV infection. Read More

HPV and Genital Warts testing with Better2Know

Persistent presence of high-risk HPV increases your risk of developing cervical cancer. Research shows that HPV testing is more sensitive and will help identify women at risk of cervical cancer.

Following this, the UK National Screening Committee has advised HPV testing as the primary test in the NHS cervical screening programme. If you test positive for HPV, a cytology (pap smear test) will automatically be conducted to detect any cervical cell abnormalities. Earlier detection means you can receive the treatment that you need in the early stages of infection. 

Better2Know provides confidential HPV and genital wart testing with the use of a single sample for convenience:

Vaginal PCR Swab Thin Prep Swab

Less invasive form of sample collection

More intimate form of sample collection

More comfortable for you

You may feel uncomfortable

Another sample will be collected for

smear testing if you test positive for HPV

You might feel embarrassed

A vaginal sample does not disrupt the

cells of the cervix – it only samples from

the walls of the vagina – so, a cervical

sample can be taken at any time

If you are positive for HPV, the same sample

can be used for cytology


Better2Know offers a range of sexual health screens that comprise testing for HPV. These include:

  • Blemish Screen: HPV, Herpes I/II, Syphilis
  • Pap Smear and HPV Test: HPV, cell abnormalities
  • Conclusive Screen: HPV, HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Herpes I/II, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HPV, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma
  • Confirm Screen: HPV, Chlamydia, Gardnerella, Gonorrhoea, Herpes I/II, Mycoplasma, Pap Smear, Trichomonas, Ureaplasma, Vaginal Swab for Culture
  • Pre-Pregnancy Screen: HPV, HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Pap Smear, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma 

Your results will be available within five working days from receipt of your samples at our CPA accredited laboratory in the UK. You can keep track of your results using Better2Know’s secure patient area on our website. Our expert sexual health advisors will also contact you once all your results are ready to report.   

How is HPV and Genital Warts treated?

There is currently no medication available to remove the HPV virus from your system. Some people’s bodies can clear the virus naturally over time. Symptoms of HPV, such as genital warts, can be handled with various forms of treatment. If you have a confirmed genital wart, then treatment can often consist of creams, lasers, surgery or cryotherapy (freezing). 

For our patients who test positive for HPV or genital warts, Better2Know will arrange the appropriate follow-up consultation for you to access the treatment you need.

What happens if I do not get treatment?

As well as being one of the major causes of Cervical Cancer, contracting HPV increases your chances of getting other STIs, such as HIV. It is important to know your HPV status, so you can take appropriate measures to protect your personal health as well as that of any current or future sexual partners. 

Expectant mothers with genital warts can find that their warts enlarge due to hormones during pregnancy. If left untreated, the warts could become an obstacle to delivery, resulting in a caesarean birth. In some cases, the mother can pass on the warts to her child during childbirth. This can lead to laryngeal papillomatosis, where new-borns develop warts in their throat leading to a potentially life-threatening condition. 

How can I book an HPV and Genital Warts test with Better2Know?

To organise your HPV test with Better2Know today, please contact our trained sexual health advisors on the number provided at the top of the page. They will help you choose the most suitable testing option for your personal needs, as well as locating the nearest private STI testing facility for you. You can also book online using the orange button above.