What your cervical screening results mean

Following your cervical screening test you will receive your results by post, this is usually within a couple of weeks, but please check with your GP as this can vary.

Your results letter will explain what was tested for and what your results mean.

Below are examples of different test results and what they mean:

No HPV found (HPV negative)

You don't have high-risk HPV.  No further action required

This means your risk of getting cervical cancer is very low. You do not need any further tests to check for abnormal cervical cells, even if you have had these in the past. 

You will be invited for screening again in 3 or 5 years (depending on your age), please see our cervical screening guide for more information on when screenings are due.

HPV found (HPV positive) but no abnormal cells​

You have high-risk HPV, but you do not have changes to your cervical cells.  This means you'll require a screening in 1 year to check whether you still have HPV.

HPV found (HPV positive) and abnormal cells

You have high-risk HPV and changes to your cervical cells.  This means you'll require a colposcopy for further tests.


Sometimes you'll be asked to come back in 3 months to have the test again. This does not mean there's anything wrong, it's because the results were unclear. This is sometimes called an inadequate result.

What is Human papillomavirus?

The test looks for Human papillomavirus, which is shortened to HPV. HPV is a common virus and most people will have it at some point in their life without knowing.  Usually it goes away on its own.  However sometimes it can be long-lasting, and this may cause abnormal cells in your cervix.  The cells can, over time, turn into cancer if left untreated.  

For more information please visit the NHS cervical screening results pages

or Jo's Trust - Cervical screening results